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SDG6: Leave no-one behind

Stakeholder consultation on water and sanitation in Bokonbaev, Kyrgyzstan

29.11.2017 |

KAWS and BORDA representatives discussing with Joldosh Bayaliev – CDWUU Chair of Bokonbaev village (left)

“The people in Bokonbaev are lacking safe water and adequate sanitation and especially women and children suffering from water related diseases, such as hepatitis A. Water is sufficient and safe in this region but unfortunately the supply system has been deteriorating since the breakdown of the Soviet Union”, explained Anara Choitonbaeva, chairperson of Kyrgyz Alliance of Water and Sanitation (KAWS).

The stakeholder consultation on how to improve the situation was carried out in the frame of a mission to Bokonbaev from 13to 14 September 2017. More than 20 stakeholders and interested citizens were engaged and discussed the situation.

Bokonbaev village is located in 5 kilometers away from Issyk Kul Lake, in Kyrgyzstan, the largest mountain lake in Central Asia. With a population around 17 000 inhabitants, Bokonbaev is the center of Ton rayon which consists of 29 villages and thus bigger than a village but still not big enough to fall under urban development finance programmes. This is a typical agricultural village, and the main occupation of the local population is agriculture and mainly the livestock breading. 

Representatives of the younger generation began to develop ecotourism and foreign tourists started to come here to enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery, get acquainted with the nomadic culture and local customs. But poor quality of the drinking water, water supply services and water shortages are the big obstacles for further sustainable development of ecotourism and other spheres of economics in the village. Despite these issues young people engaged in the eco-tourism development activities in cooperation with the local authorities were able to include Bokonbaev village as the center of ecotourism on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul in the regional economic development strategy action plan.

New settlement in Bokonbaev

Since this year the population is experiencing water shortage due to the deterioration and leakages of the network of the water supply system and the main transmission line and unprotected sanitation zone in the main water source area which brings water from the source, 12 kilometers away from the village. The local administration therefore had no other mean than to supply water to a part of the village during the morning and the other part during the afternoon. “The willingness to pay for water is really low because of the poor water quality and shortage of water. Almost all the income from payments for water by households is spent on daily repairs due to leaks and lock inside the tubes in various algae and rooted shrubs.” said the chair of Community Drinking Water Users Union (CDWUU).

The local administration acknowledged the importance of the matter and conducted a topographic survey, ordered a new design for the main transmission line and planned to fence the water protection zone around the springs where livestock and wild animals are grazing.

KAWS and WECF have been invited already several times during the last years to discuss the water problems in Bokonbaev and were asked to find a solution.

“Parallel to the drinking water problems, the municipal wastewater needs to be addressed in order to protect public health and the environment in a sustainable way. If water supply becomes safe and reliable people tend to introduce water based installations and flush toilets and produce municipal wastewater that needs to be treated,” WECF water and sanitation specialist Claudia Wendland points out.

The chief doctor of the rayon department for disease prevention asked for a centralized wastewater treatment system. BORDA wastewater expert Tobias Ulbrich explained the disadvantages of a centralized system: high costs for investment, operation and maintenance which lead to unaffordable wastewater tariffs. He introduced decentralised solutions (DEWATS) and the benefits to the stakeholders: a DEWATS system is more cost-effective and efficient in performance, doesn’t require electricity power (can work with gravity flow) and can be operated with low skilled labor.

Stakeholder consultation

After intensive discussion with the stakeholders and the municipality, the idea is to start with an incremental implementation plan according to the Water and Sanitation Safety Plan methodology. Kick off was the recent mission to Bokonbaev by KAWS, WECF and BORDA to meet with the local institutions and stakeholders to set the priorities.

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