Happy Faces all around – Hydro4U team met with Kyrgyz cooperation partner Orion

On the 26th of October 2022, representatives of the Technical University of Munich, Global Hydro and Muhr Group met to analyse and discuss the current status of the Hydro4U project with the Kyrgyz cooperation partner Orion. The main topics of this meeting were the technology of the turbine, the steel hydraulic engineering as well as the overall arrangement of the power plant.


Orion was very pleased with the opportunity to learn about the technology in detail and was also impressed by the overall development in the Hydro4U project, which lead them to compliment the excellent work of the European Hydro4U partners.

The hosts were also highly satisfied and thus everyone agreed, that the preparations necessary for the installation of the Hydro4U demonstration object in At-Bashi (Kyrgyzstan) are in good hands with Orion.


In addition, the presentation at the headquarters of the Muhr Group in Brannenburg (Germany) was complemented by a visit to the Technical University of Munich as well as to the Dietenheim Hydroshaft power plant.

Representatives of TUM, MUHR, Global Hydro and Orion


Author: Fabian Böttger

picture credits: Roland Muhr

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.




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 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/

Fieldtrip of the Hydro4U ecology team to Shakimardan Enclave (Uzbekistan)

After the successful first field mission to Central Asia of the Hydro4U consortium members in September 2021, the second mission took place from 31.3 – 12.04.2022 to Shakimardan Enclave (Uzbekistan). The mission was jointly organised by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). It was led by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) and SJE Ecohydraulic Engineering (SJE) with the participation of further Hydro4U partners (“Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers” National Research University – TIIAME, the Own Equity of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest – EV-INBO). The aim of the field mission was to explore the demonstration site “Shakimardan” and surrounding stretches of the river system. During this trip, the identified demonstration site was visited and the external partner for the demonstration was met. This trip included the following visits:


  • 01-02 April 2022: mission to Uzbekistan, visit of stakeholders in Fargona, in particular UzbekGidroEnergo, the local partner for the demonstration activity, and the Governor Office of the district,


  • 03-12 April 2022: mission to Uzbekistan, visit of Shakhimardan (Uzbek Enclave in the territory of Kyrgyz Republic)


The main purpose of this fieldtrip was to collect data for the ecological assessment at the selected demonstration site for small hydropower deployment.



Hydro4U partners tasks during the trip – who did what?


SJE field team 1 coordinated the survey with drones, total stations, flow measurements together with the contracted local survey experts. SJE field team 2 documented the whole future diversion stretch with barriers and mesohabitats and together with BOKU, TIIAME and INBO identified stretches for the planned 1D telemetry study on fish in the river system.


The BOKU team characterised the affected river stretch of Koksu River, including Aksu River and downstream parts of Shakimardan basin in terms of fish biodiversity, population status, migratory aspects and habitats. They performed a training on data collection with the goal to characterise local fish population and conducted electrofishing together with TIIAME to get information on potential indicator species for SJE’s studies.


INBO did some first tests with 1D telemetry equipment and searched for suitable spots for further studies on migration behaviour of indicator species using 1D acoustic telemetry.

The pictures show:


  • Source of Koksu river
  • Electro fishing with local partner TIIAME
  • Reactivating old Russion flow meter
  • Discharge measurement with different flow meters
  • Local flow velocity meaurements for fish preference identification


picture credits: SJE

EGU General Assembly 2022: Abstract by Hydro4U partners HSOL and IWMI accepted!

Hydro4U partners hydrosolutions GmbH (HSOL) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) have successfully submitted an abstract for an oral presentation at this year’s EGU General Assembly which has been accepted.


The short oral presentation is titled “Accountability and Transparency through Water-Energy-Food Nexus Accounting in Central Asia” (EGU22-7012) and was held 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.


In Central Asia, more than 90 % of annually renewable water resources are consumptively utilised in irrigation and allocation conflicts between large-scale hydropower in the upstream 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 climate-neutral hydropower solutions, including on small-scale hydropower (< 10MW), the water-energy-food-environment nexus is now under renewed focus in the region. In line with these developments, new nexus tradeoffs emerge that need to be yet acknowledged and quantified, also under the considering of a changing climate.


As part of the Hydro4U project, that demonstrates innovative and sustainable hydropower solutions targeting the unexplored small-scale hydropower potential in Central Asia, a new online nexus toolbox with an innovative monitoring and accounting methodology is developed. It assimilates data from different sources, including from remote sensing and through local monitoring, to monitor and predict water availability and energy production in the mountainous zones of runoff formation and irrigation water use in the downstream. Target user groups are basin irrigation system administrations, private and public energy stakeholders, and Ministry of Water representatives in the two demonstration sites where small-scale hydropower plants are built as part of the project.


Find more information on the event here.

Application for International Summer School on hydropower is open!

One task within Hydro4U is the development of academic programmes and courses on sustainable hydropower for students from Europe and Central Asia. Hydro4U project partner Kyrgyz State Technical University named after Iskhak Razzakov (KSTU) is hosting annually a two-week Summer School for students titled “Kyrgyzstan – Hydropower, Ecology and Hydromorphology”.


This programme was already designed in 2019 by KSTU and Technical University of Munich (TUM). The SummerSchool is financially supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


The 2022 edition of the Summer School will take place from 21.08.2022 – 04.09.2022 in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.


The programme will include lectures, a Russian language course, excursions to 4 Micro Hydropower plants in Chui Region; big Power stations in the southern Region of Kyrgyzstan: Toktogul, Kurp-Sai, Kambar-Ata; in the northern Region of Kyrgyzstan: Orto Tokoi, Naryn/Kotschkor; as well as a cultural programme (Ala-Archa, Burana, Issyk Kul, Cholpon-Ata, Petroglyph, Son Kul, Naryn etc.).


Bachelor/Master Students, Aspirants/PhD Students as well as young lecturers/teachers are cordially invited to submit their applications until 05/06/2022.


Please find more information on the Summer School and the application process here.




Ms. Venera Baichekirova, Head of International Relations Department: venerabk@gmail.com


Mr. Zhaboev Ilias, Assistant, kstusummerschool@gmail.com

HyPeak: Survey on Hydropeaking Hydropower

In cooperation with the Hydropeaking Research Network (HyPeak), Hydro4U partners BOKU and TUM are conducting a survey to gather research priorities and emerging issues related to hydropeaking effects and mitigation, as well as to understand stakeholder perceptions with regards to ecosystem services.


Experts working with hydropeaking hydropower are invited to participate in an anonymous 15-minute survey to support hydropeaking research. The survey is available in 6 languages and will run until 24th December 2021.


Please click here to start the survey.

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Visit of potential planning site in Tajikistan

Hydro4U aims at demonstrating European small hydropower equipment and technologies in Central Asia thus contributing to a sustainable and climate-resilient future of the region. Besides the demonstration activities, Hydro4U will also include planning activities to expand the focus of the project, both regionally and in terms of content.


As Tajikistan has great potential for hydropower development in the Central Asian region, Oyture Anarbekov (IWMI) and Prof. Bakhtiyor Karimov (TIIIAME) visited the transboundary small river Karatag which crosses Shakhrinav and Mirzo Tursuzade districts of Tajikistan on 28th November 2021.


An important objective of this trip was to assess Karatag site’s capacity as a potential planning site for Hydro4U, specifically taking into account the Water-Energy-Food nexus as well as environmental aspects. Furthermore, the visit provided a great opportunity for enhancing the cooperation between local stakeholders and the Hydro4U project partners.


Photo Credits: IWMI

Hydro4U is now member of PLANET CLUSTER

Hydro4U has become member of PLANET, the cluster for programmes on environment, water, sanitation, climate change, disaster risk reduction, nuclear remediation, biodiversity, energy efficiency and renewable energy. 


We are happy to contribute with our activities for a green transition in Central Asia and looking forward for joint activities.


Link: https://circabc.europa.eu/ui/welcome

Hydro4U is now on YouTube

Hydro4U is now on YouTube. A first video from our public kick-off event (30th June 2021) is already online. 


Prof Peter Rutschmann, Technical University of Munich (TUM), presented the project overview of the Hydro4U project to representatives from Central Asia and EU.


Hydro4U on YouTube: