Tajikistan is a mountainous and landlocked country with significant river systems. Because of its terrain and climate, it is highly exposed to the risk of flooding. Magnifying this risk are (i) the impacts of climate change, which have been shown by studies to likely result in more frequent and intense flood events; and (ii) the lack of adaptive capacity of Tajikistan that, as of project appraisal in 2007, was the poorest country in Central Asia.
In response to this increased flood risk as well as to support the government’s strategy to achieve its Millennium Development Goals, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a loan of $22 million for the Khatlon Province Flood Risk Management in October 2007. The project was designed to provide a holistic way for reducing the risk of flooding and its negative consequences in the country’s poorest and most populated province of Khatlon, which is also responsible for most of its food and agricultural production.
The project’s anticipated impact was reduced socioeconomic damage from floods in the project area. Its intended outcome was provision of effective and sustainable flood management structures and non-physical risk mitigation systems and a strengthened risk management institutional and legal framework. It had four planned outputs: (i) institutional and legal reforms; (ii) physical measures, including embankment rehabilitation and provision of operation and maintenance (O&M) heavy equipment; (iii) non-physical measures, including preparation of flood-risk maps and flood preparedness programs and provision of equipment for rapid response teams, (c) enhanced flood forecasting capacity by modernizing the network of climate stations and river gauges and improving flood warning systems; and (iv) capacity building for efficient project management.
At completion, the project was able to substantially deliver its planned outputs. The Water Code was amended and resulted in the establishment of the Commission for Flood Risk Management and Prevention. The state-owned enterprise Canal Chubek was set up and tasked with O&M of the embankments along Pyanj River, Khatlon’s main water resource.
Ten kilometers (km) of the total 25 km embankment along the right bank of the Pyanj River were rehabilitated and upgraded to withstand floods with a 100-year return period. Nineteen spurs were constructed and proved quite effective in accumulating sediment and supporting natural vegetation inside the river channel. Additional works, including the construction of an access road and bridge, improvements in the Chubek irrigation system, and the expansion of embankment rehabilitation to two more districts enhanced the impact of the project’s physical component.
Flood risk maps for 25 years and 5 years flood return periods were developed using “MIKE-11 GIS” software, which combines river and floodplain modeling with spatial analysis to identify water depths and therefore areas vulnerable to different flood levels. Modeling was also undertaken for 10-, 20-, 50-, and 100-year return period floods. Based on the flood risk maps, flood preparedness plans were formulated, and evacuation trainings were conducted in priority jamoats (mobile warning stations) of the pilot districts. Three climate stations and seven river gauges were rehabilitated or constructed. An interstate river gauge at the country’s border with Afghanistan also started to be rehabilitated but was not completed during the project because of its extremely difficult physical location.
The flood forecasting capacity of the Agency for Hydrometeorology (Hydromet) was enhanced through model development, the provision of computer hardware and software, and relevant trainings. A flood warning system with a 6-hour lead time was installed, complete with fixed communication stations in district offices and mobile stations. Prioritized methods for cost-effective tributary flood prevention infrastructure repair were likewise generated for two districts.
Substantial output deliveries led to the attainment of the project’s intended outcome. As of project completion, the negative socioeconomic impact of flooding in the project areas had been reduced; the amended Water Code had mandated the full implementation of the holistic flood management concept; and the annual budget allocation was deemed adequate for O&M.
The Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Resources (MLRWR) was the executing agency. A project management office within MLRWR oversaw the day-to-day project implementation undertaken by two implementing agencies: the Hydromet and the Committee for Emergency Services.