Using BIM for detailed Design

The Hydro4U demonstration hydropower plant in At-Bashy has reached the detailed design phase. The use of dedicated structural analysis software has facilitated the adoption of an integrated BIM solution for the detailed design of the At-Bashy hydropower plant in Kyrgyzstan.


ILF Consulting Engineers Austria, which has been responsible for the detailed design of the At-Bashy demonstration hydropower plant, prepared formwork and reinforcement drawings for the construction of the modular Hydroshaft Power Solution (HSPS). During this process, optimizations and structural adjustments were made to the design; all using Building Information Modelling (BIM) – exemplifying how dedicated structural analysis software enables an integrated BIM solution.


The workflow used can be described as follows: The basic design was prepared by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and provided to ILF for further development and review. After an initial review of the basic design elements, which include subdivision of the hydropower plant with construction joints, a three-dimensional (3D) structural Finite Element Model (FEM) was created. Dead load, earth pressure and external influences such as wind and snow were defined and applied to this model. As these loads induce stresses in the structure, these loads were calculated using the FEM.


As a result of these load calculations, the required reinforcement according to the applied load was then visible in the model. An example of the required stirrup reinforcement is shown below. The required reinforcement is defined and set for each element in the model.

The FEM is part of the larger BIM model, allowing plausibility checks regarding the location, quantity and spacing of the reinforcement to be conducted easily, and thus helping to ensure the practicality of its installation on site.


BIM models can be visualized using different views. In addition to full 3D views, sections and viewing angles can be displayed. Dimensions and further information can be added to the views. As only one model is used, these individual views can be used for formwork and reinforcement drawings. The reinforcement material list generated by the software could also be added to the drawings.


The BIM approach makes it possible for everyone involved in a project to have a good overview of the project at all times by using a cloud-based setup. The model is stored on a platform so that multiple users and experts from different disciplines can follow the progress of the project and intervene, if necessary.


In this project, the 3D model was stored in a cloud to give all relevant project members insight into the progress of the design work. The 3D model was used as the basis for discussing all coordination issues, which were resolved before the 2D drawings were started. The reinforcement was also part of the 3D model and allowed a high level of accuracy to ensure practicality on site.



The ILF Group is an international engineering and consulting firm that supports its clients to successfully identify, prepare and execute technically challenging energy, industrial and infrastructure projects all over the world in the following main business areas: Energy & Climate Protection, Water & Environment, Transportation & Urban Spaces and Resources & Sustainable Industry.

Picture credits and authors: Ulrich Beikircher, Rupert Feldbacher, Gabriel Pojer, ILF Austria

Protection of Fish Biodiversity in mountainous areas of Central Asia

As visible in the project title of Hydro4U, sustainability is a crucial part of the developments in small-scale hydropower in Central Asia, particularly ecological sustainability. Ecological impacts of HP are for instance hindered migration, altered flow regimes (reduced flow, fast flow changes) or changed river morphology (sediment retention, increased embeddedness). The investigations performed by the European partners BOKU (A), EVINBO (B), Hydrosolutions (CH) and SJE (D) in cooperation with local partner TIIAME (UZB) in the demonstration sites Shakimardan at Koksu river in UZB, and Atbashy close to Naryn City at Atbashy river in Kyrgyzstan) focus on the mitigation of ecological impacts.


Hydrology in Shakimardan and Atbashy
The Koksu River, part of the Shakimardan basin, is influenced by a natural dam created by rockslide deposits, leading to the formation of lakes Kurbankul and Yashikul. The Koksu’s discharge, measured from 1948 to 2020, shows a minimum monthly flow of 1.25 m³/s in spring and a maximum of 16 m³/s during summer. The river’s annual sediment load is low due to upstream dam filtration, and it remains unfrozen throughout winter. The Atbashy River, a tributary of the Naryn in Kyrgyzstan, spans an area of 1,496 km² with elevations ranging from 2,455 to 4,843 meters above sea level. From 1970 to 1995, the Atbashy’s mean discharge was 16.6 m³/s, characterized by a nivo-glacial and strongly seasonal regime, with higher flows in warm months (mean discharge of 24.8 m³/s) and lower flows, accompanied by significant ice cover, in winter.


Fish populations in Central Asia and target species
The Mountains of Central Asia biodiversity hotspot consist of two major mountain ranges: the Pamir; and the Tien Shan with a total area of about 860,000 km² covered, including the 2 demonstration sites Shakimardan and Atbashy. Much of the biodiversity and natural ecosystems are in remote mountain areas and have still to be better studied. Therefore, any human impact directed on the change of aquatic habitat in these ecosystems has to be thoroughly assessed before implementation.


During 2021-2023 the ecological conditions and diversity of the ichthyofauna of mountain and foothill sections of rivers that are promising for the development of environmentally sustainable small-scale hydropower have been studied. Special attention was paid to the conservation of the diversity of fish key species and other aquatic organisms. To assess this integral component of the sustainable functioning of river ecosystems a special focus has been laid on the related habitat conditions.


One of main steps to achieve sustainable SHP is the identification of target aquatic key-species to be protected, having high importance for the protection of wildlife biodiversity. Collected field data on fish diversity, taxonomy and ecology of more than 50 river catchments in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have allowed to identify for the first-time main key fish species in upstream sections of Central Asian Mountain rivers (see also illustrations below):


1. Snowtrout – Schizothorax eurystomus (Kessler 1872);
2. Sewertsow rare-scaly osman – Diptychus sewerzowi (Kessler 1872);
3. Triplophysa ferganaensis (Sheraliev & Peng 2021);
4. Stone loach – Triplophysa sp.;
5. Glyptosternon oschanini (Herzenstein 1889).

Figure: Central Asian fish species as target of HP impact mitigation within Hydro4U (© Jennifer Clausen,



First findings on fish ecology of snow trout
Snow trout (Schizothorax sp.) belong to the most important fish species in Central Asia. They are adapted to fast-flowing, high-sloped mountain rivers. These fish, which reach up to 60 cm in length and 4 kg in weight, have a diet comprising algae, detritus, macroinvertebrates, and smaller fish. Their life cycle includes reaching sexual maturity at 3-4 years and a notable spawning period from April to September.


A habitat preference study of Schizothorax eurystomus in the Shakhimardan basin performed by Hydro4U researchers using point electrofishing revealed that juvenile snow trout prefer shallow waters around 20-40 cm of depth, while sub-adults and adults favor deeper areas of >30 cm and >50 cm, respectively. All size classes showed a high plasticity for diverse flow velocities and inhabit various substrates, with juveniles showing a preference for mid-sized substrates. This research is significant as it expanded the known distribution range of S. eurystomus and provided baseline data for environmental flow assessments.


Telemetry studies
Fish use various habitats to complete their life cycle such as spawning habitat, wintering sites and foraging areas. These habitats can be located at different parts of a river system and used by fish at different, seasonal-specific moments in time. Knowledge on the movement and habitat use of snow trout species Schizothorax eurystomus in the rivers of the Shakhimardan enclave is currently lacking. Hence, the effect of the planned hydropower plant in the River Koksu on the habitat use of snow trouts is unknown.
We used radiotelemetry to tag and track (position) 29 snow trouts in October 2022 to reveal their habitat use over the course of one year so we could learn when they reside and Koksu and why.


As the dataset is almost complete, we learned that the snow trouts seasonally visit the Koksu River, in particular during autumn months, which reasons for are to be clarified. However, these data suggest that the construction of the hydropower plant needs to take into account the life cycle of snow trout. In the next months the tracking data will be analyzed deeper to learn when and under which environmental conditions snow trout visits specific habitats. This information is not only crucial for the Shakhimardan enclave but can help future planning of river regulating structures in fish-ecologically, similar places in Central Asia.


Migration facilities and EFlow
The information for target species Schizothorax eurystomus has been used in Shakimardan for simulations with the habitat model CASiMiR to find a seasonally adapted E-Flow providing fish habitats in adequate quality and availability when the HPP is diverting part of the natural flow. The existing weir will integrate a state-of-the-art fish way and a bypass installation that enable up- and downstream migration for snow trout. Another artificial migration barrier within the river will be made passable as well. In Atbashy the modernized irrigation weir, equipped with a shaft turbine, will also integrate upstream- and downstream migration facilities. The attraction flow leading fish into the bypass channels and preventing them from entering the turbine inlet is investigated using a newly developed module of CASiMiR to possibly optimize the inflow conditions. The findings from these studies together with the results from the monitoring of the HPPs that both go into operation during the project period will deliver information for the adaptive management as part of the EIA.



Authors: Matthias Schneider (SJE), Tobias Siegfried (HSOL), Daniel Hayes (BOKU), Pieterjan Verhelst (EVINBO), Bakhtiyor Karimov (TIIAME-NRU), Erkin Karimov (TIIAME-NRU), Otabek Omonov (TIIAME-NRU).


Further contributors: Iana Kopecki (SJE), Tobias Haegele (SJE), Beatrice Marti (HSOL), Bernhard Zeiringer (BOKU), Johan Coeck (EVINBO), Ine Pauwels (EVINBO)

Connecting fish and people: Protection of Fish Biodiversity in Mountainous areas of Central Asia

Small-scale hydropower (SHP) is not extensively exploited in Central Asia despite considerable potential to satisfy unmet electricity demand. The Mountains of Central Asia hotspot consists of two of Asia’s major mountain ranges: the Pamir; and the Tien Shan with the total area covered of about 860,000 square kilometers. Much of the biodiversity and natural ecosystems are in the remote mountain areas and have still to be better studied. Therefore, any human impact directed towards the change of aquatic habitat on these ecosystems have to be thoroughly assessed before implementation.


In light of the above, a key aim of TIIAME NRU’s research was to study the ecological conditions and diversity of the ichthyofauna of mountain and foothill sections of rivers that are promising for the development of environmentally sustainable small hydropower. A special attention within the project is paid to the particular importance of the conservation of the ichthyofauna diversity and habitat conditions as well as other aquatic organisms as an integral component of the sustainable functioning of river ecosystems.


To achieve the Hydro4U project objectives, it is key to perform studies on fish biodiversity, allowing the identification of key species of conservational and economic value, key river habitats based on, e.g., morphological river types or specific river sections, and legal protection sites.

To this aim, the team of TIIAME NRU conducted a series of “Central Asian Big Highlands Expeditions” to assemble baseline data on fish biodiversity and population assemblages, distribution and movements in rivers of CA, including information on measured chemical parameters. These field surveys also enabled knowledge exchange with Central Asian scientists and stakeholders.


To carry out the planned research, a special series of expeditionary research was organized in the mountainous regions of Central Asia. Field studies have been conducted in cooperation with regional research institutions and ichthyologists from Fergana and Termez state Universities (Uzbekistan) and Biological institute of Kyrgyzstan Academy of Sciences. Famous German ichthyologist, Dr. Joerg Freyhof from the Natural Museum of Berlin has participated in spring field studies as well.


To perform the listed tasks, the TIIAME NRU Team has conducted large-scale preparatory work since the end of 2022 – beginning of 2023. More than 50 preliminary planning sites throughout the whole Central Asian highlands were defined.


Before starting our surveys, we faced problems with obtaining permission for electrofishing. After long discussions and organization of two workshops dedicated to explaining the pros and cons, sampling permits for Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan were handed out eventually. TIIAME NRU is still aiming to acquire permits for ichtyological studies in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Therefore, here we provide data on the two republics of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

In general, all research tasks have been fulfilled, despite the difficulty of visiting some distant upstream sections of mountainous rivers due to absence or very bad quality of roads. As a result of conducted field surveys, today we have collected large field data on fish diversity, taxonomy and ecology, as well as hydrology of more than 50 river drainages in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Also, for the first time, the main key fish species in upstream sections of Central Asian Mountain rivers have been revealed. The identification of key species to be protected during implementation of different hydrotechnical constructions, including SHP, has high importance for the protection of wildlife.


The TIIAME NRU Team has also continued telemetry studies in Shakhimardan river basin to establish fish migration patterns in connection with the construction of fish passages on water intake and water fall in Koksu river. Results of conducted research have been presented in meetings and conferences and also published in regional journals.


Author: TIIAME National Research University

Picture credits: Erkin Karimov

Harnessing open-source datasets for global Water–Food–Energy–Climate Nexus analysis, demonstrated in Central Asia

The Water–Food–Energy–Climate Nexus (WFEC Nexus) approach is pivotal for transparent decision-making across the globe, especially in regions grappling with data scarcity. To this aim, a new study identified sixty unique datasets spanning six thematic categories, showcasing the potential of open-source data in driving evidence-based decisions in diverse global contexts, as demonstrated by Central Asian examples from the Hydro4U project.


“While our work offers a detailed exploration of how these data can be used in the Central Asian context, its true strength lies in its broader applicability”, said lead author Jan De Keyser, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. “The datasets and methodologies which we highlighted can be transformative for any region facing data limitations, providing a roadmap for holistic, informed decision-making.”


Geospatial data, as underscored in this article, is a game-changer in today’s data-driven era. It offers invaluable insights into various facets of the WFEC Nexus, from tracking land use changes to dealing with different water use interests, making it indispensable for policymakers and stakeholders worldwide.

Corresponding author Daniel S. Hayes, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, added, “The power of open-source data transcends regional boundaries. By presenting a comprehensive overview of these datasets, we aim to equip researchers and stakeholders across the globe with the foundations they need to address complex challenges.”


The paper also delves into the challenges of data scarcity, a concern not limited to Central Asia but prevalent in numerous regions globally. It advocates for bolstered investments in data acquisition and management, enhanced data exchange mechanisms, and the fostering of international collaborations to bridge these data gaps.


In conclusion, this research, a pivotal component of the Hydro4U project, serves as a beacon for experts working on WFEC-related challenges.


For a detailed overview of these data, please refer to the published article “Integrating Open-Source Datasets to Analyze the Transboundary Water–Food–Energy–Climate Nexus in Central Asia”, which can be downloaded for free here:




Author and picture credits: Daniel S. Hayes, BOKU

2023 HydroKG Summer School in Kyrgyzstan

Within the framework of the EU-funded Hydro4U project, one of the main tasks is also the development of academic programs and courses on sustainable hydropower for students from Europe and Central Asia.  Therefore, the Kyrgyz State Technical University named after I. Razzakov (KSTU), as project partner within Hydro4U, has been annually holding a two-week summer school for students since 2021 on the topic “Kyrgyzstan – hydropower, ecology and hydromorphology.”


The 2023 Summer School took place from the 14th to 31st of August 2023, with a total of 15 students from Germany, India, Pakistan and the Kyrgyz Republic participating in this year’s Summer School. Furthermore, participants were able to experience the incredible potential of hydropower in Kyrgyzstan, and also learn about the environmental impacts and sustainability associated with ecology and hydromorphology. The main organizational work of the Summer School was carried out by Venera Baychekirova, Head of the international Department of KSTU, with technical support from members of KSTU, and Professors Trukmen Dzhabudaev, Gennady Loginov, Nuridin Niyazov, who gave lectures. The Summer School concept consists of lectures and seminars at KSTU in Bishkek, combined with excursions to interesting places in the Kyrgyz Republic related to hydropower and natural river systems. In addition, there are also cultural offerings such as Russian language courses and sightseeing trips.


During their stay in Central Asia, students visited hydroelectric power stations in the south and north of Kyrgyzstan, such as Toktogul, Kambar Ata 1 and 2 as well as Kurpsai. They learned about the environmental impacts and sustainability associated with the ecology and hydromorphology, but also about the hydro-electrical part of the plants. In addition, as part of the 2023 Summer School there was also a visit to the Orto-Tokoy reservoir in Issyk-Kul, where students listened to an information and demonstration lecture led by Director Nurbek Sadygaliev on irrigation in Central Asia.


Where students participating in previous editions of the Summer School visited the Chui, Jalal-Abad and Issyk-Kul regions, this year, the cultural program included the Naryn region, the Kochkor region and Lake Son-Kul, where students were able to experience the lifestyle of nomads.


Further summer schools are planned annually. Students will be informed about the application stage for Summer School 2024 on our website  as well as on our social networks and https: //


It is expected that within the framework of Hydro4U, professors from among the project partners will also be invited to give a lecture and seminar on the topic of the summer school.




Author: Venera Baichekirova, Head of International Relations Department of KSTU

Global Experts Identify Top 100 Questions to Improve Sustainable Management of Hydropeaking

In a newly published study, a team of international experts has identified the top 100 high-priority questions that need to be addressed to improve the sustainable management of peak-operating hydropower, a critical component in the renewable energy landscape. This research, which was partially conducted within the Hydro4U project, is set to shape the future of hydropeaking research, policy, and management.


Hydropeaking, the rapid and frequent changes in river flow to optimize hydropower operation, has gained significant attention due to its ecological impacts and its role in integrating renewable energy production with demand. As the global commitment to renewable energy grows, understanding and mitigating the effects of hydropeaking becomes paramount.


The study employed the Delphi method, a systematic approach to achieving expert consensus, to distill over 400 initial questions to the most pressing 100. These questions span a range of themes, from hydrology and ecology to energy markets and policy. The consensus list aims to guide researchers in focusing their efforts, bridging the gap between science and policy, and ensuring the sustainable operation of hydropower facilities.


Key findings from the study include:

  • A strong understanding of the main ecological impacts of hydropeaking and efficient mitigation techniques exists.
  • There remains to be a disconnect between this understanding and its policy and management implementation.
  • The ecological effects of hydropeaking on certain organism groups (e.g., crayfish, mollusks, and birds), life cycle stages, and key physical processes, such as sediment dynamics, are still largely unexplored.
  • The socio-economic impacts and energy markets of hydropeaking need further investigation.
  • Considering hydropeaking in the broader context of climate change, urbanization, and other global trends is essential for future sustainability.


The study also emphasizes the potential of emerging technologies. Rapid advances in remote sensing and the rise of artificial intelligence offer new avenues for research. These technologies can help develop a new generation of models that consider a wide range of data, from socio-economic drivers to river flows and energy markets.


“This research is a call for a coordinated, global effort to address the challenges and opportunities presented by hydropeaking,” said Dr. Daniel S. Hayes, lead author of the study, and researcher at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. “With the identified 100 high-priority questions as our guide, we can direct our research efforts more effectively, providing policymakers with the evidence they need to ensure the sustainable management of rivers.”


The Hydro4U project is proud to have participated in this pivotal research, emphasizing its commitment to advancing sustainable hydropower practices worldwide.


The study can be downloaded for free here:

Author: Daniel Hayes, BOKU

Towards including transboundary Water-Food-Energy-Climate Nexus considerations in the decision making for new Small Hydro Power projects in Central Asia

In Central Asia, allocation conflicts between large-scale hydropower (HP) in the upstream countries and irrigation in the downstream occur regularly and mostly across complex international borders, especially during water scarce years and low storage conditions. With an increasing attention on the Sustainable small-scale hydropower production, the Water – Food – Energy– Climate (WFEC) Nexus is now under renewed focus in the Region.


In line with these developments, CARTIF has conducted a geo-localized analysis of the agriculture water withdrawal in the Region. This water consumption is a crucial element of the WFEC Nexus studies as it directly impacts into the downstream water availability affecting HP potential.


While crop production data at the national level are reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO), similar data within sub-national boundaries or river basin scale are rarely available, and not from one institution. In the absence of official statistical data at the basin level, CARTIF’s GIS assessment has been based on the Spatial Production Allocation Model (MapSPAM) [1]. MapSPAM provides open access data on 42 different crop types and its management practices at 10 km of spatial resolution on an annual basis from 2000, 2005 and 2010. Each pixel in the region is associated to a harvested irrigated area and a specific crop yield. The latter can be transformed into agricultural water withdrawal rates by means of the water requirements for each crop type, identified in relevant publications [2-5]. Following this methodology, it has been possible to compute the agricultural water consumption in Central Asia and in the zone of runoff formation (ZRF), an area located in the mountainous territories and which concentrates the higher HP potential in Central Asia [6], as it is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Water consumption calculated for irrigated crops, Central Asia (picture 1) and close up of the zone of runoff formation area (picture 2).

These geo-located results of the water demand by irrigation could be used to reduce the circulating flow at points with small HP potential located downstream of the cultivated area. In this way, WFEC Nexus variables could be included in the HP potential estimation, ensuring that an adequate management is guaranteed between water uses.


Within Hydro4U, project partner CARTIF is leading the replication activities of sustainable small-hydropower potential, which includes the development of the Hydro4U replication guideline tool. They contribute to the determination of the sustainable hydropower potential based on GIS data and impacts modelling at river basin scale. This also helps to quantify the shared benefits and trade-off analyses in the context of the Water-Food-Energy-Climate nexus. Project outputs also support the development of a screening tool to analyse site-specific hydropower conditions in Central Asia.



Authors: Iván Ramos & Raquel López, CARTIF

Picture credits: CARTIF Technology Centre, 2023




[2] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) AQUASTAT Crop Water Information [Dataset] Available online: (accessed on 20 May 2023).

[3 ] Oweis, T.; Hachum, A.; Pala, M. Lentil Production under Supplemental Irrigation in a Mediterranean Environment. Agric. Water Manag. 2004, 68, 251–265, doi:10.1016/j.agwat.2004.03.013.

[4] Mohamoud, M.; Abdalla, A.; Elhag, M.; Yousif, L. Estimation of Water Requirement and Water Productivity of Sesame Crop (Sesamum Indicum L.) in Dryland Areas of Sennar State, Sudan. 2019, 1–16.

[5] Torres, R.R.; Robaina, A.D.; Peiter, M.X.; Ben, L.H.B.; Mezzomo, W.; Kirchner, J.H.; Rosso, R.B.; Pimenta, B.D.; Pereira, A.C.; Loregian, M.V. Water Productivity and Production Function in Irrigated Millet Crop. Semin. Ciências Agrárias 2019, 40, 2837, doi:10.5433/1679-0359.2019v40n6Supl2p2837.

[6] De Keyser, J., Hayes, D. S., Seliger, C., Siegfried, T., López, R., Ramos, I. & Habersack, H. (2023). Hydro4U – Deliverable 1.4 First technical report.


Partner Description: Link to the respective partner description on the Hydro4U website (by SEZ)

Twitter: @CARTIFCT

LinkedIn: CARTIF

Facebook: CARTIF


In nature, evolutionary changes usually take place incrementally, although their effects can be enormous. While developing the new ‘EVO’ turbine series, Hydro4U project partner and the Upper Austrian hydropower all-rounders at Global Hydro Energy GmbH subjected their Pelton, Francis, and Kaplan turbines to a complete rethink, adapting and optimising them to meet the very latest requirements in terms of environmental protection, economic efficiency and ease of maintenance.


The new Kaplan EVO is the centrepiece of the promising modular shaft power plant – a further development of the patent power plant concept created by the Technical University of Munich. It’s an independent Kaplan turbine system that opens up new perspectives for previously unexploited low-head sites. The Kaplan EVO is predestined for use in both refurbishment projects, and all existing transversely-built low-head structures.


Source & Authorisation: zek HYDRO  (edition April 2023, pages 44-47) 

Download the full version here, available in English, Russian & German:

Picture credits: GHE

Wet and Hot Central Asia

Hydro4U project partner hydrosolutions GmbH has recently submitted a paper manuscript to the open-access Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Journal. In this scientific study, the researchers from hydrosolutions GmbH, jointly with partners from Central Asia, investigated the impact of climate change on the water resources of 221 catchments in high-mountain Central Asia during the 21st century. Figure 1 shows a map of the study region. The highlighted area includes Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the Hindukush, Gissar-Alay, Pamir, and Tien Shan Mountain ranges.

Figure 1: Map showing semi-arid Central Asia. 221 catchments were delineated and are color-coded according to the larger basin where they are located. They cover an area of 423’099 km2. Where available, long-term historic discharge data shows increasing trends in water supply (blue dots). The red dots show decreasing trends in discharge.

They used a simplified soil moisture water balance model to examine how precipitation gets divided into runoff and evaporation under different climate scenarios. They also compared future periods (2011-2040, 2041-2070, and 2071-2100) to a baseline period (1979-2011) to estimate changes in water discharge across the region and for all catchments using this model.


The researchers used high-resolution historic climate data to obtain daily temperature and precipitation values for each catchment. They also used data from four different climate models (WCRP Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 6) to predict future climate conditions and compared these predictions to the baseline observed data. To account for variations in soil characteristics, they tested their model’s performance against different soil parameters.


Using the historic climate (Figure 2) and discharge data together with the model, it could be shown that, on average, 42% of the total precipitated water in the mountains runs off to the plains in the downstream where most of it (>> 90%) is consumed in irrigated agriculture. The rest evaporates back to the atmosphere where part of the moisture gets recycled in precipitation.

Figure 2: The left plate shows the aridity index of each catchment and the right plate mean precipitation levels of the baseline period. The aridity index is a measure of dryness.

Data from the climate models indicate that Central Asia will likely experience more precipitation and warmer temperatures in the future. The average increase in total precipitation across the catchments and scenarios is 4.44% for 2011-2040, 5.89% for 2041-2070, and 8.51% for 2071-2100. The median increase in temperature relative to the baseline is +1.33°C, +2.44°C, and +3.55°C for each respective period (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Distributions of mean future climate states over all 221 catchments as a function of the climate scenario and the target time period. hist_obs refers to the baseline climate investigated. The remainder scenarios are different climate scenarios with increasing CO2 atmospheric concentrations. Period p1 is from 2011-2040, p2 is from 2041-2070, and p3 is from 2071-2100.


The results suggest that on average water discharge will also increase by 4.71%, 7.44%, and 10.87% in the corresponding periods, despite the potential for increased evaporation (Figure 4). This implies that even though glaciers might contribute less water, the overall water availability in the region will still increase. The most significant changes are expected in the Afghan Murghab-Harirud basin and the Amu Darya.

Figure 4: Per-scenario statistics of relative changes in discharge over the 221 catchments for the three periods. Period p1 is from 2011-2040, p2 is from 2041-2070, and p3 is from 2071-2100.


The study also highlights the need for further research on how these climate changes may impact extreme weather events in Central Asia, as this remains an understudied topic. Overall, the research suggests a warmer and wetter future for the region, with implications for its water resources and hydrological extremes. These are also important in the context of the current and future hydropower developments in the region.



For more information, please visit the preprint online.


Author & picture credits: Tobias Siegfried, hydrosolutions GmbH

The Socio-Economic Impacts of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus on Women’s Livelihoods in Central Asia

The water-energy-food nexus is a critical issue in Central Asia, and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has been at the forefront of conducting comprehensive analyses to address this challenge. Central Asia, which includes countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, is characterized by a complex web of interdependencies between water, energy, and food production. Water is a scarce resource in Central Asia, with the region being home to some of the world’s largest rivers, including the Amu Darya and Syr Darya. These rivers are critical for irrigation, hydropower generation, and transportation, making them a key component of the water-energy-food nexus. However, increasing demand for water for agriculture, urbanization, and energy production has led to over-extraction of water from these rivers, resulting in declining water availability for all sectors.


The Hydro4U partner IWMI has conducted in-depth analyses of the water-energy-food nexus in Central Asia, using interdisciplinary approaches that integrate hydrology, agriculture, and energy systems. These analyses have revealed the complex interactions and trade-offs between water use for irrigation, hydropower generation, and food production. One of the key findings of IWMI’s research is the significant impact of climate change on the water-energy-food nexus in Central Asia. Changing precipitation patterns, receding glaciers, and rising temperatures are altering water availability, leading to shifts in agricultural productivity and energy generation.


The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) also has conducted extensive analysis of the water-energy-food nexus in Central Asia, taking into account the social aspects, including the role of women and children. Central Asia is a region where social dynamics and gender roles play a significant role in shaping water, energy, and food security outcomes. IWMI’s research has recognized that women and children are often disproportionately affected by water, energy, and food challenges in Central Asia. Women, in particular, play a crucial role in agriculture and household food production, as well as in water collection and management.


In Kyrgyz Republic, over 60% of the people live in rural areas, while in Uzbekistan, the urban and rural populations are split almost evenly at 50%. The challenge for these rural communities is the access to clean and running water, as the water supply systems established during the Soviet era have not been properly maintained or refurbished. Uzbekistan, located in a dry region of Central Asia, inherited a well-developed water supply and sanitation infrastructure, but the system is outdated, damaged by corrosion, operating inefficiently. Continuity in water services is lacking, and there is insufficient pressure in pipelines.


In both Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan, women are primarily responsible for collecting, distributing, and managing household water and sanitation practices. Research on Gender and Water (World Bank) in Uzbekistan shows that in households without access to drinking water, 61% of the burden of collecting water falls on adult women. This task is physically strenuous, time-consuming, and can be hazardous. Moreover, the time spent fetching water reduces opportunities for women to pursue education, generate income, develop skills, and engage in leisure activities.


The HYDRO4U project, funded by the European Union, is small hydropower installation that is making a significant impact on the water-energy-food nexus in rural Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, not only by providing clean and sustainable energy but also by bringing about crucial social benefits, particularly for women and children in these communities.



Find out more in our next Newsletter edition!



Author: Saida Usmonova, IWMI

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Picture Credits: Bertalan Alapfy