This is an outdated, inactive version of this case. Go to the current version.

Use of mineralized artesian water to organize irrigated crop farming in the Kyzylkum (CACILM) [Uzbekistan]

Central Asia Countries' Initiatives for Land Management (CACILM)

technologies_1117 - Uzbekistan

Completeness: 78%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Mukimov Tolib


Research Institute of Karakul Breeding and Desert Ecology of Uzbekistan



SLM specialist:

Rabbimov Abdulla

Research Institute of Karakul Breeding and Desert Ecology of Uzbekistan



Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Central Asian Countries Initiative for Sustainable Land Management - Multicountry Capacity Building (CACILM - MCB) - Kyrgyzstan
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Research Institute of Karakul Breeding and Desert Ecology of Uzbekistan - Uzbekistan

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Cultivating several food and forage crops in the Kyzylkum desert using mineralized irrigation water from a flowing artesian well

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Pasture-based livestock production is an important component of Uzbekistan’s agricultural sector, producing more than 60% of all the livestock output. Concentrated on an area of 17,5 mln. ha, it is based on the full or partial pasture keeping of animals. Assuming that the average pasture’s productivity is 1,7 centners/ha (100%), forage availability during spring is 80%, 100 % in the summer & autumn & 60-65% during winter. Total forage shortage in the Kyzylkum desert is about 540 thousand tons (15% of total demand). Considering this, production of reserve stock of forage is a relevant task.
The Kyzylkum desert has artesian wells, which each produce 13-15 l/s. Water in the wells has neutral acidity (pH- 7,4) & medium salinity (Ec= 5.6-8.3 ds/m). The technology of salinity tolerant crops (halophytes) for livestock forage was introduced on the basis of irrigation using water from these wells. The suitability of these feeds to various groups of livestock animals was determined and a system of pre-feeding preparation was developed, taking into account the mineralization of irrigation water and quality of the halophytes (in the frame of CACILM).

Purpose of the Technology: The purpose of this technology is land improvement through retention of topsoil, rehabilitation of vegetation cover, prevention of overgrazing through reducing livestock pressure by organizing irrigated forage production.

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: The agricultural processes for establishing irrigated land are traditional and include plot leveling, plowing, chiseling, harrowing, sowing, cutting irrigation furrows and caring for the plantation. The following forage crops were successfully tested: winter cereal crops (Movlono barley, Kyrgyzskaya-1 rye, Prag Serebristy triticale, Kroshka millet), forage crops (Belozubaya maize, Aip-13150 pearl millet, Oq Zhuhori and Venichnoe sorghum, Sudan grass, Tashkentskaya and Eureca alfalfa, D-1 and D-2, common licorice) & forage halophytes (К. scoparia (L.) Schrad, Bassia hyssopifolia (Pallas) O. Kuntze, S. altissima & Climacoptera lanata).

Natural / human environment: Using mineralized waters for irrigation is only possible in soils with a light texture The introduction of crop rotation with halophytes, which remove up to 40% of salts from the soil, is also mandatory for the ecologically sustainable application of saline water. Traditionally livestock production is the main source of income for the population of the Kyzylkum and important to create family savings. To improve their livelihoods, livestock numbers are increased without consideration of the area or condition of pastures. Unsystematic grazing and pasture use beyond its capacity threatens biodiversity. Forage production facilitates the creation of a reserve stock of forage and alleviates pressure on the pastures. There are 63 artesian wells in the Kanimekh district, which can be used for irrigated crop farming on an area of 350-400 ha. In the Kyzylkum desert, this technology may be introduced on an area of 25 000 ha.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Uzbekistan / Navoi oblast

Further specification of location:

Kanimekh district

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • during experiments/ research
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

Experiments and research on the use of mineralized artesian water for irrigation of forage crops were performed by Uzbek scientists 40 years ago. This technology was introduced under the framework of ICARDA project “Research on Sustainable Land Resources Management” Experiments 4 and 5 «Zone of rehabilitation of pasture lands» in 2007-2009.

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

Grazing land

Grazing land

Extensive grazing land:
  • Semi-nomadism/ pastoralism
Main animal species and products:

Livestock production farm comprised mainly of small ruminants


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): A low natural fertility level of desert soils and extremely arid conditions (low precipitation, low air humidity and high summer temperatures)

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Low quality soils and an arid climate

Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Grazing land: Gi: Intensive grazing/ fodder production

If land use has changed due to the implementation of the Technology, indicate land use before implementation of the Technology:

Grazing land: Ge: Extensive grazing land

3.3 Further information about land use

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1

Longest growing period in days: 220; Longest growing period from month to month: April-November

Livestock density (if relevant):

10-25 LU /km2

3.4 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • improved ground/ vegetation cover
  • irrigation management (incl. water supply, drainage)

3.5 Spread of the Technology

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 0.03 km2.

Pasture with thin herbaceous desert vegetation in Kyzylkum desert near a flowing artesian well with mineralized water. Soil cover is represented by sandy soils with high water permeability.

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A1: Vegetation/ soil cover
management measures

management measures

  • M1: Change of land use type

Type of agronomic measures: mixed cropping / intercropping, mineral (inorganic) fertilizers, furrows (drainage, irrigation)

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Et: loss of topsoil

Main causes of degradation: overgrazing (unsystematic grazing and excessive load on the pasture), droughts (low rainfall, poor natural vegetation)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation

Основная цель: предупреждение деградации земель

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology


R.Ibragimov, UZGIP institute, 44, Navoi str, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

4.2 Technical specifications/ explanations of technical drawing

Water from a flowing well is supplied by gravity via a ditch or plastic chute assembly with outlets feeding the irrigation furrows.

Location: shirkat farm Madaniyat. Kanimekh district/Navoi oblast

Date: 10-10-2011

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate

Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate

Main technical functions: improvement of ground cover, increase in organic matter, increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…), promotion of vegetation species and varieties (quality, eg palatable fodder), Crop rotation includes halophytes and alfalfa

Mixed cropping / intercropping
Material/ species: halophytes and alfalfa
Quantity/ density: 10-20kg/ha
Remarks: every 4 years with a sowing rate of 20kg/ha (alfalfa) and 10-12 kg/ha (halophytes)

Mineral (inorganic) fertilizers
Material/ species: carbamide
Quantity/ density: 100 kg/ha

Furrows (drainage, irrigation)
Material/ species: irrigation head-ditches
Quantity/ density: 100 m/ha

Change of land use type: pastures converted into irrigated plough land

4.3 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify currency used for cost calculations:
  • US Dollars
other/ national currency (specify):

Узбекский сум

Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.4 Establishment activities

Activity Type of measure Timing
1. Mobile irrigation plastic chute assembly

4.5 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Equipment Mobile irrigation plastic chute assembly meter 50.0 18.2 910.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 910.0

Duration of establishment phase: 3 month(s)

4.6 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Type of measure Timing/ frequency
1. Leveling, plowing, compactor, cutting irrigation furrows Agronomic Autumn
2. Sowing Agronomic March-April
3. Caring for plantations (irrigations) Agronomic April-October
4. Mowing Agronomic June, July, August
5. Protection of the site Management Year round

4.7 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Leveling, plowing, compactor, cutting irrigation furrows machine/hr 6.0 20.33 121.98 100.0
Labour Sowing machine/hr 1.5 9.8 14.7 100.0
Labour Caring for plantations people/month 4.0 244.75 979.0 100.0
Labour Mowing machine/hr 2.0 17.5 35.0 100.0
Plant material Seeds kg/ha 20.0 3.495 69.9
Fertilizers and biocides Fertilizer kg/ha 100.0 0.266 26.6 100.0
Other Labour: Protection of the site persons/month 12.0 70.0 840.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 2087.18

Machinery/ tools: Tractor, long-wheelbase leveler, plough, harrow, compactor

The cost was estimated for 1 hectare (as of 2009).

4.8 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

Using plastic chutes for long-line furrow irrigation is not a mandatory element of the technology. In general, the technology is very cheap. The largest cost incurred is the hiring of labour to care for the seedlings during the vegetation period.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

Total amount of precipitation is 106 mm/year, 90% of precipitation falls from October to May

Agro-climatic zone
  • semi-arid

Thermal climate class: temperate. For 3 months, the air temperature is < 5 оС and for 7 months, it is > 10 оС

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Comments and further specifications on topography:

Landforms: Virtually zero slope

Altitudinal zone: Elevation is 125-190 m above sea level

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • coarse/ light (sandy)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • low (<1%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil depth on average: Deep desert-sandy and gray-brown soils

Soil texture (topsoil): 0.01 mm particle content up to 10%

Soil fertility is low (30-40 points out of a 100-point scale )

Soil drainage / infiltration is good, stipulated by light texture of desert soil

Soil water storage capacity is low with a capacity of 15-19%

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

5-50 m

Availability of surface water:


Water quality (untreated):

for agricultural use only (irrigation)

Comments and further specifications on water quality and quantity:

Availability of surface water: During irrigation, groundwater table rises by up to 2 m

Water quality (untreated): Underground water has a neutral pH, acid reaction = 7.4 and the average salinity - Ec = 5,6-8,3 ds / m

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • low
Comments and further specifications on biodiversity:

Desert grass vegetation is adapted to harsh desert conditions

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Individuals or groups:
  • cooperative
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users

Population density: < 10 persons/km2

Annual population growth: 1% - 2%

5.7 Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • medium-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • state
Land use rights:
  • leased

Shirkats (large agricultural cooperatives) are granted public land for permanent ownership, which is then assigned to the shirkat members under rent conditions

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


fodder production

Comments/ specify:

Due to the cultivation of forage crops

animal production

Comments/ specify:

Due to the improvement of availability of forage

Income and costs

farm income

Comments/ specify:

Due to an increase in livestock production

Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency

Comments/ specify:

Due to an increase in livestock production

health situation

Comments/ specify:

An increase in livestock production leads to an improvement in the population’s health

livelihood and human well-being

Comments/ specify:

An increase in livestock production due to improved forage availability facilitates an increase in the shirkat farm’s income, and therefore, the livelihoods for its members is improved

Ecological impacts


soil moisture

Comments/ specify:

Due to irrigation

soil loss

Comments/ specify:

The surface is covered by vegetation and is less affected by wind erosion

nutrient cycling/ recharge

Comments/ specify:

Due to the accumulation of nitrogen in nodule bacterium on alfalfa roots


Comments/ specify:

There is a risk of an increase in soil salinity if the technology were to breakdown (if halophytes were to excluded from crop rotation)

soil organic matter/ below ground C

Comments/ specify:

Due to the decomposition of plants’ residues and root system

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C

Comments/ specify:

The surface is covered by forage and other plants

6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season Type of climatic change/ extreme How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm well
local windstorm well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood not well

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period well

The technology is stable regardless of climate change, since it is based on flowing wells, which are a guaranteed source of water. The crops grown are also biologically adapted to unfavorable desert conditions (dry winds, droughts, high temperatures, etc.).

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:

very positive


Short-term: forage production, vegetables and melons, providing livestock with wholesome food during autumn and winter and food products to the population
Long-term: preservation and increase of biodiversity, reduction in the pressure on pastures.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • more than 50%
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):

20 households in an area of 3 ha

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many have did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 0-10%

20 land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support

There is no trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: due to a lack of farming standards in the local population’s traditional livestock production

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Quick income generation and low level of investment into the technology

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Training in irrigated agriculture and apply knowledge in practice
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
No special investment is required to introduce the technology

How can they be sustained / enhanced? To promote and persuade farmers to engage in pastoral irrigated fodder production
Quick income generation; Up to 1.5 million Sum of net profit per hectare can be generated

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Perform all the activities provided measures technology to observe crop rotation
Locally available resources and materials are used

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Use offered salt-tolerant varieties the technology of fodder crops
Availability of a guaranteed source for irrigation water provides for the sustainability of production

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Use recomendations in irrigation mineralized artesian waters
Creates employment opportunities, increases employment and production growth

How can they be sustained / enhanced? To promote and persuade farmers to engage in pastoral irrigated fodder production

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Lack of equipment and farming traditions Change the mentality and habits
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Lack of agricultural machinery personally owned by the local land users involved in livestock production Farmers association into groups for the joint acquisition of equipment
Lack of farming standards and experience among the local population traditionally practicing livestock production Training in irrigated agriculture, promotion of technology
Possible tendency to soil salinization Strict adherence to recommendations for crop rotation. Monitoring of soil salinity

Links and modules

Expand all Collapse all