Hydro4U presents first ecological results of the Shakimardan case study at the 36th Congress of the International Society of Limnology in Berlin

On 8th August 2022, Hydro4U partner Bakhtiyor Karimov (TIIAME NRU) presented first ecological results of the Shakimardan case study at the 36th Congress of the International Society of Limnology (SIL) in Berlin, Germany. Moreover, Hydro4U partners TIIAME NRU, INBO and BOKU IHG have published a related conference proceeding titled ”Biodiversity and anthropogenic impacts on fishes of Shakimardan River drainage, Ferghana valley, Central Asia”.[1]

 

In Central Asia since 1960s, many of native fish species were lost or extremely declined in population size and distribution area. Many previously common fish species are hard to find today. Therefore, the last International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessment has estimated more than one third of fish fauna in the region as data deficient. Since 1960s, Central Asia has developed large-scale irrigated agriculture with a multitude of hydro-technical infrastructure and diversion. Only in Uzbekistan, a total length of the inter-farm and on-farm irrigation networks amount to 27,868 km and 154,957 km respectively (which is four times the length of the Earth’s equator).

 

Shakimardan River drainage, Ferghana valley, Central Asia

 

The Koksu river is characterised by an upstream natural sediment dam, which was caused by a massive earthquake in the XVI. century. After the emergence of the dam, the large lake Kurbankul was formed at an altitude of about 1,725 m a.s.l. The lake is fed by the melting of snow and glacier and supplies the downstream Koksu River with water by draining through the sediment dam.

 

The Shohimardonsoy (Shakimardan) river basin is located in the territory of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (Shakimardan enclave). The Shakimardan River is formed by the confluence of the Aksu and Koksu rivers. Most of the 1,300 km² large basin is high mountainous and the length of the river is 112 km.

 

River ecology and fish migration barriers surveys

 

The Shakimardan River drainage features over ten barriers, particularly in its middle and downstream reaches, many of them being fully impassible for upstream migrating aquatic biota.

 

Fish Diversity and Migration Studies

 

The Shakimardan river drainage was connected to the Syrdarya River until the 1960s. Until this time, potamodromous fish species from downstream parts were likely able to swim upstream into Shakimardan river and its tributaries. However, starting in the 1960s, development of intensive water extraction for the cotton monoculture has led to transformation of the riverbed and instream connectivity. Present studies have revealed that today, many water distribution facilities and dams form unpassable barriers for fish and fragmentation of previously connected rivers and river sections.

 

Sampling sites

 

At the 2022 spring field trip, BOKU IHG and TIIAME NRU sampled 21 sites consisting of 41 mesohabitat units (i.e., pool, riffle, run, ruffle, pocket pools, cascade, or combinations thereof) with backpack electrofishing gear (Honda FEG 1500, 1.8 kW). In detail, they sampled 9 sites in Koksu river (distributed from the source to its mouth), 3 sites in Aqusu river, 7 sites in Shakimardan river (4 in the Uzbek mainland close to the town of Vodil, 3 in the enclave of Shakimardan) and 2 sites in downstream diversion channels to gain a better understanding on fish biodiversity, distribution and population status in the basin. Electrofishing was not permitted in the river section of the Kyrgyz Republic.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

The sustainability approach of the small hydropower construction demands that habitat connectivity for fish in Koksu river is ensured. Therefore, the following key tasks are needed:

 

  • The environmental flows allocation must provide minimum depths to enable fish migration.

 

  • The artificial barrier (waterfall) located in the future environmental flows stretch needs to be re-constructed to ensure fish migration

 

  • The hydropower plant must be equipped with a fish pass and downstream migration solutions

 

In both cases, nature-like or technical solutions are viable options. In general, the former is preferred from a fish ecological perspective over the latter as nature-like migration facilities may also constitute better usable habitats for riverine fish.

 

Areas of necessary action therefore include:

 

  • protecting free-flowing rivers and critical habitats

 

  • restoring habitat connectivity and ecological water flows

 

  • halting over-exploitation of freshwater species and preventing the spread of invasive species

 

 

Authors: Bakhtiyor Karimov, Erkin Karimov, Bernhard Zeiringer, Johan Coeck, Daniel S. Hayes

 

[1] Karimov, B., Karimov, E., Zeiringer, B., Coeck, J., & Hayes, D.S. (2022). Biodiversity and anthropogenic impacts on fishes of Shohimardon River drainage, Ferghana valley, Central Asia. 36thCongress of the International Society of Limnology (SIL), 7-10 August, Berlin, Germany.

The pictures show:

 

  • Fish migration barrier at Vodil Village, Shakimardan River (pictures 1-3)
  • Snow Trout from Shakimardan River
  • Shakimardan River

 

picture credits: Daniel Hayes (BOKU IHG), Bakhtiyor Karimov & Erkin Karimov (TIIAME NRU)

Hydro4U contributes to KSTU Summer School 2022

The second edition of the Summer School on “HydroKG Kyrgyzstan – hydropower, ecology and hydromorphology” for international bachelor and master students was hosted by Hydro4U project partner Kyrgyz State Technical University named I. Razzakov (KSTU) in Kyrgystan during two weeks in August and September 2022.

 

Hydro4U aims to bring together stakeholders from industry, politics and science from both Central Asia and the European Union to contribute to a sustainable and climate-resilient future for the region by demonstrating European small hydropower equipment and technologies.

 

Moreover, one of the objectives of the Hydro4U project is to develop academic programmes and courses on sustainable hydropower for students.

 

In this regard, KSTU, as one of the partners of Hydro4U project, annually holds a two-week Summer School for students. This programme was already developed jointly by KSTU and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in 2019. The Summer School is mainly funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

 

From 20th August to 5th September 2022, students from Germany, Argentina and Kyrgyzstan visited hydroelectric power plants in the south and north of Kyrgyzstan and learned about the environmental consequences and sustainability associated with ecology and hydromorphology, as well as the hydro-electro-technical part of the stations.

 

The Summer School was led by Ms. Venera Baichekirova, head of the international department of KSTU. From the technical side, it was supported by Professor Nuridin Niyazov from KSTU (Karakoel site), by Hydro4U project partners as well as by IWMI-CA (Uzbekistan office).

 

The main programme of this year’s Summer School consisted of lectures and seminars at KSTU, combined with field trips to interesting places related to hydropower in the Kyrgyz Republic, small hydropower plants and natural river systems. Russian language courses were also organised teaching technical terminology. Moreover, cultural excursions to the mountainous regions and museums of Kyrgyzstan were offered.

 

Seminars were held by:

 

  • Muktarbek Kubat “Perspektive und Entwicklung erneuerbarer Energiequellen” (engl. Perspective and development of renewable energy sources), “Wasser Ressourcen und Management in Zentralasien” (engl. Water resources and management in Central Asia),
  • Saida Usmonova “Sustainable small-scale hydropower potential in Central Asia and role of Water-Energy-Food nexus” and
  • Abdikhamid Urazkeldiev “Hydro4U project: case study of Water-Energy-Food nexus assessments from demonstration sites”.

 

The students received explanations about the ecological and agricultural background of Central Asia and painted a picture of future challenges of the region. They also visited the Orto-Tokoi reservoir on Issyk Kul’e (led by Mr. Nurbek Sadygaliev), where they received a lot of information about irrigation in Central Asia.

 

This Summer School offered again an exciting programme for students, professors and experts, who had the opportunity to gain new knowledge and share information about Central Asia as well as to get to know a new culture and an amazing country like Kyrgyzstan.

 

The organisers would like to thank the partners of the Hydro4U project for their contribution to this year’s Summer School.

 

Author: Venera Baichekirova, KSTU

 

Partner description: KSTU

Website: https://www.kstu.kg/

Facebook: KSTU

YouTube: KSTU

Photo credits: Venera Baichekirova, KSTU

Hydro4U project discovers fishes in Koksu River
(Shakimardan enclave, Uzbekistan) for the first time

Until now, no one thought there were fish in the Koksu River located in Shakimardan enclave, Uzbekistan. Also, until today, no literature information on fish catches in this river was registered. This is due to the lack of up-to-date information on aquatic ecology as well as fish biodiversity and migrations in Central Asia. Also, modern techniques for fish ecology studies were missing.

 

Within Hydro4U project, scientists from the TIIAME NRU team led by Prof. Bakhtiyor Karimov have conducted intensive aquatic ecology studies and for the first time in history, have revealed the presence of two fish species there: snow trout (Schizothorax eurystomus Kessler, 1872) and one loach species (Triplophysa sp.). During a fieldtrip for river ecology studies in the area of the potential small hydropower plant in November 2021, 24 specimen of snow trout of different ages were caught in the midstream of the river above Shakimardan Village, as well as more than 10 snow trout and loach specimen within Shakimardan Village in April 2022, thanks to the employment of electrofishing equipment introduced by Hydro4U project partners.

 

The caught fish species could serve as indicators for river ecology. Their habitat requirements serve as a basis for habitat studies and ultimately for achieving the goal of implementing environmentally friendly hydropower solutions.

 

The “Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers” National Research University (TIIAME NRU) is a regionally recognised academic and research institute known for its top programmes in engineering (irrigation, water resources, ecology and environment, electrification & automation, agricultural mechanisation, land management and agricultural economics / management & marketing).

 

In Hydro4U, TIIAME NRU’s core activities are to depict the impact of small-scale hydropower on aquatic and fish ecology in mountain ecosystems and to lead the preparation and dissemination of open-source educational materials.

 

Author: Prof. Dr. Bakhtiyor Karimov

 

Partner description: TIIAME

Website: https://tiiame.uz/

Instagram: tiiameofficial

YouTube: TIIAME

Facebook: Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers

Twitter: @tiiameofficial

Images:

 

1) The snowtrout caught at “Chuqursoy” in Shakimardan village

2) Fish species – Triplophysa sp. from Koksu river, April 2022

3) Koksu river, Shakimardan Village

Hydro4U – European project on sustainable small-scale hydropower in Central Asia meets in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

22.06.2022

 

Hydro4U is a project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Organisations from Europe and Central Asia are collaborating to boost sustainable small-scale hydropower in Central Asia. Eco-friendly hydropower solutions will be implemented in two demonstration plants: one in Kyrgyzstan and one in Uzbekistan. Further sites in Central Asia will be selected as planning sites. This week, the consortium met for two days in Tashkent for a general project meeting together with the project’s Advisory Board team to review the activities of the past twelve months and plan the upcoming actions. The meeting also included a special session with regional EU Delegations to benefit from the expertise of the Commission.

 

Read more in our press release: EN, RU, UZ

Boosting the replication of European Small-hydropower solutions in Central Asia

Central Asia is a singular region in terms of Small Hydropower (SHP) development. Although the zone has the second largest SHP potential (up to 10 MW) in the world with 34.4 GW, it is the area with the lowest percentage of SHP development, with only 0.8% of SHP exploited so far.[1]

 

Behind these low figures, there is a great number of political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental barriers. There are common issues as the lack of information on SHP or the lack of private sector funding. Moreover, some Central Asian countries have to deal with extreme weather conditions which negatively affect hydropower development, as for example in high altitude regions where streams are likely to freeze in winter.

 

Hydro4U aims to boost European SHP industry by adapting existing European high-quality solutions to the demands and resources of Central Asia. Furthermore, in order to accelerate the exploitation of these solutions, a replication strategy is being elaborated.

 

CARTIF is a technology Centre with more than 25 years of experience in the development of renewable energy projects and in the definition of strategies for energy transition. In the context of Hydro4U, CARTIF is leading the replication activities. A key point of our work will be the development of a replication guideline tool, aimed at future investors or public authorities to support decision-making on new SHP projects in Central Asia. The tool will be based on a computational model integrating GIS information and statistical data and will be implemented at river basin level.

 

Currently, it is planned that the tool will consist of several interactive modules, aiming to (1) visualise the total sustainable HP potential and installed capacity, (2) simulate hydropower (HP) generation scenarios considering Water-Food-Energy-Climate Nexus constrains, sustainability of resources and socio-economic impacts and (3) provide HP technology recommendations as well as lessons learnt related to the implementation of new HP projects.

 

The tool is intended for public use and is therefore not only aimed at experts who are familiar with the specific details, but also at decision-makers, investors and politicians.

 

[1] United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. 2019 World Small Hydropower Development Report (WSHPDR)]

 

 

Authors: Raquel López, Iván Ramos, Ismael Lozano and Fredy Vélez, CARTIF

 

Partner description: CARTIF
Website:  www.cartif.es
Twitter: @CARTIFCT
LinkedIn: CARTIF
Facebook: CARTIF
YouTube: CARTIFTV

Curious to explore Hydro4U project? Discover our dissemination materials!

In Hydro4U, an international consortium of multiple experts is collaborating to promote small-scale hydropower in Central Asia. We, at Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, are making the hard work of our technical colleagues visible by presenting our project activities and achievements in an easy-to-understand way, for experts and non-experts alike!

 

Here is what we have developed for you to dive into our project!

 

Our Hydro4U project website informs you about the technologies developed to demonstrate small-scale hydropower in central Asia. Discover our technological solutions: the container solution and the shaft power plant. Moreover, you can find regular blogs depicting the work of our project partners and our latest news. In our event section, you will find inspiration where to meet our consortium or the hydropower community! Recently, main parts of our website have been translated into Russian to better reach stakeholders and the general public in Central Asia! Click here to browse through our website in Russian language.

 

Until today, we have published two newsletters giving an update on our project activities. While the first newsletter was focused on sustainable small-scale hydropower solutions developed in Hydro4U, the second newsletter was dedicated to our demonstration site “Shakimardan” in Uzbekistan where small-scale hydropower will be demonstrated using the Francis-Container-Power-Solution manufactured by Global Hydro. If you would like to receive future editions, subscribe here.

 

Finally, have a look at our brand-new project leaflet in EN or RU to get a quick overview about our project partners, aims and technical solutions!

 

To get the latest updates on Hydro4U, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

 

Author: Kathrin Eckerlin, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum

 

For general information and press inquiries, please send an email to: info@hydro4u.eu

 

Partner description: Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Website: https://www.steinbeis-europa.de/en/home
Twitter: @SEZ_Europa
LinkedIn: Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Facebook: @Steinbeis.Europa.Zentrum
YouTube: Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum

2nd Hydro4U Newsletter – May 2022

The second Hydro4U Newsletter has been published and sent out to our subscribers on 25.05.2022. The special topic is dedicated to our demonstration site “Shakimardan” in Uzbekistan where small-scale hydropower will be demonstrated using the Francis-Container-Power-Solution manufactured by Global Hydro.

 

You can read the whole newsletter edition here: Hydro4U Newsletter #2 – May 2022

 

If you do not want to miss future editions, subscribe here.

General Assembly 2022 of the European Geosciences Union (EGU)

 23–27 May 2022 in Vienna, Austria and online (hybrid event)

 

The General Assembly 2022 of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) is held at the Austria Center Vienna (ACV) in Vienna, Austria, and online from 23–27 May 2022.

 

The EGU General Assembly 2022 will bring together geoscientists from all over the world for one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary, and space sciences. The EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists, especially early career scientists, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience.

 

Hydro4U partner HSOL will give a short oral presentation on “Accountability and Transparency through Water-Energy-Food Nexus Accounting in Central Asia” (EGU22-7012) in Session HS5.1 “Water resources policy and management – managing trade-offs at the nexus between water, food, energy and the environment” (room 3.29/30) on Monday, 23 May 2022, 10:42 CEST. Read more about this contribution here.

 

Further information on the conference website: https://www.egu22.eu/

Hydro4U Website now available in Russian language

Our Hydro4U project consortium is very international including partners from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In order to better reach stakeholders and the gerneral public in Central Asia, we are happy to announce that main parts of the Hydro4U website are now also available in Russian language. Visit our website in Russian under: https://hydro4u.eu/ru/

Assessments and benefits sharing in the context of the Water-Food-Energy-Climate nexus in Shakhimardan river basin

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a non-profit, research-for-development organisation, based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, that works with governments, civil society and the private sector to solve water problems in developing countries and scale up solutions. IWMI opened a subregional office in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 2001. It is the only international institute conducting water research in Central Asia. Together with the numerous partners and stakeholders from their broad network, IWMI tackles the key water management issues facing the region. IWMI identifies the best practices for improving irrigation performance, reversing land degradation, addressing interlinkages in the water-energy-food nexus, improving the efficiency of water and energy use, promoting the economic efficiency of water management, and enhancing transboundary water cooperation and governance in shared river basins. IWMI’s strategy is centered around three strategic programmes – Water, Food and Ecosystems; Water, Climate Change and Resilience; and Water, Growth and Inclusion – each supported by high-quality science and digital innovation.

 

In Hydro4U, IWMI is responsible to carry out the quantification of shared benefits and trade-off analyses from small-scale hydropower (SHP). The cross-sectoral nexus dimensions need to be fully understood, not only at regional level, but also in the specific local contexts where SHP solutions are planned. Therefore, a seminar was held on 9th March 2022 in Fergana (Uzbekistan) to exchange views with the population and local authorities on the assessment of the nexus interdependence and cross-sectoral distribution of interests. The purpose of the consultation meeting was to discuss with local stakeholders from Ferghana district the importance of the nexus between Water-Energy-Food and Climate in the context of SHP installation in Shakhimardansay, one of the demonstration sites selected under Hydro4U.

 

Therefore, it is important to understand how SHP will influence other sectors in the region and how it will improve socio-economic conditions of the enclave Shahimaradansay. The aim was to bring together representatives of the water, energy, agricultural and environmental sectors as well as local authorities.

 

The water, energy and food sectors are so strongly interlinked that actions in one area commonly impact on one or both of the other sectors. Yet, all too often, these sectors operate in isolation, and seeking security in one sector may in fact compromise others or affect negatively the integrity of ecosystems.

 

In transboundary basins, obtaining harmonised data from all riparian countries and forming a holistic and shared picture of the situation and future scenarios is more complicated and requires specific approaches and policy dialogues. A joint assessment of intersectoral links, trade-offs and benefits serve the development of more coherent policies, reducing frictions between sectors and environmental impacts, as well as promoting the expansion of cross-border cooperation.

 

The nexus approaches help governments, investors and local communities think about where and how to maintain, restore and improve ecosystems and biodiversity, regenerate agriculture, and support sustainable irrigation, clean energy, and agro-processing needs. The nexus approach involves a broad range of actors (including women, youth and vulnerable groups) and stakeholders working together to connect systems in ways that seek equitable economic and social well-being.

 

IWMI will assess the cross-sectoral nexus at regional level and in the specific local contexts where SHP solutions are planned.  A situational analysis report and survey to document site-specific characteristics will be prepared. Geospatial analyses will be enriched by interviews with stakeholders in the catchment area to capture detailed socio-economic dimensions on the ground. An investigation will be undertaken to determine to what extent site-specific learnings are transferable to the Central Asian context, to interstate canals and transboundary river basins.

 

IWMI jointly with other Hydro4U partners will conduct a mapping of the main actors at selected demo and test sites, of their roles and responsibilities and investigate the formal and informal institutions that exist to foster water governance. The robustness of sharing agreements will be screened according to their “climate-readiness”, including from the perspective of the extent of non-cooperation in the respective contexts.

 

Author: Saida Usmonova, IWMI-Tashkent

 

Partner Description: IWMI
Website:  https://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/about/where-we-work/asia/iwmi-in-central-asia/
LinkedIn: International Water Management Institute (IWMI)