Кадры решают все

Personnel decide everything

26 June 2023

The deficit of specialists in water resources management was the topic of discussion at the round table organized by PF "CAMP Alatoo" jointly with the Kyrgyz National Agrarian University named after K.I. Skryabin. K.I. Skryabin Kyrgyz National Agrarian University. The discussion was held in Bishkek with participation of teachers, students of the university and representatives of water management services. 

The participants noted the high demand for young personnel in the field of water resources. Climate change, melting glaciers, low-water rivers - to counteract these processes, the country needs competent and qualified specialists who know about effective measures to mitigate external natural challenges.  "Kyrgyzstan generates 50 billion cubic meters of water. Only 20% of this volume is accounted for in the country, the rest of the water leaks to the neighbors. Our republic should fully utilize this unique water potential. But this requires specialists who, for example, can design and build new reservoirs to store water to ensure the republic's energy and food security," said Baratali Koshmatov, a professor at the Department of Land Reclamation and Water Resources Management at the Konstantin I. Skryabin National Academy of Sciences.

According to Dzhyldyzkan Sadabaeva, a spokeswoman for the Water Resources Service, the water management system currently employs 4,600 people. Their average age is 50 years and older. This fact complicates the work under conditions of automation and digitalization of management. In the future, the water management system will require modern equipment and software and, accordingly, "advanced" specialists.

The preparation of "water" specialists is carried out by the K.I. Skryabin Kyrgyz National Agrarian University, B.N. Yeltsin Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, and I. Razzakov Kyrgyz Technical University. The largest number of future land reclamation specialists, hydrologists, and hydraulic engineers are graduated by the agrarian university, with 560 young professionals receiving diplomas in the last 13 years, of whom more than 85% have been successfully employed. Potential employers for these newly graduated professionals include the water management services of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Kyrgyz Republic, water users' associations, and rural administrations.

Representatives of the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University mentioned that it is easier for a recent graduate to find employment if they have taken care of it during their internship. Annually, they prepare over 200 bachelors and masters in project and research activities, who can find application in assessing the state of water resources and objects of water management, as well as in restoring the natural condition of rivers. However, a significant problem is that during internships, their students often struggle to find opportunities despite agreements with various water services, as mentioned by Galina Frolova, the head of the Department of Water Resources and Engineering Disciplines at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University.

The demand for "fresh blood" in managing water resources is acute against the backdrop of the recent problem of insufficient irrigation water. Currently, 96 water management specialists are needed locally to address this issue. The clear and fair distribution of resources, especially in rural areas, is the responsibility of water users' associations (WUA).

To familiarize themselves with the activities of WUAs, participants visited the Sokuluk district. Students and their mentors visited the local water users' association "Novaya Zemlya" and learned about the functions and responsibilities of the association, the tariff system, payment collection, and interaction with users. During the conversation, it was revealed that some WUA employees refer to themselves as "self-taught" and, without formal education, acquire hydroengineering and mirab (water distribution) skills through practical experience. According to information from the K.I. Skryabin Kyrgyz National Agrarian University, the WUA will soon have a permanent position for a hydrotechnician responsible for the on-farm irrigation network.

Participants also visited economic facilities under the management of WUA, including a hydrometric station and a watershed.


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