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Germany has extensive experience in managing the country’s water resources, very active environmental NGOs, strong legal framework addressing water resources in line with the EU water legislation and regulations and experiences in involving the public in dialogues on water management and treatment. The main aims of study tour were to learn about experiences of interaction and constructive dialogue with representatives of relevant ministries and agencies, civil society organization, the private sector, journalists, and media representatives, as well as the practices applied by the above-mentioned organizations in working with the population on the issues of efficient use of water resources and environmental protection. New knowledge is supposed to give the participants new tools for applying in their further work.
During the tour, the group visited 5 cities and had 10 meetings with representatives of government, public and private sectors, academia and research organizations. Also, two demo-tours on city canals and rivers were included in the program.
Who did the group meet and what new did they learn?
The participants visited the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, two water stations of Berlin, Fraunhofer Centers for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW in Leipzig, Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association BORDA, the former coal mine Zollverein in Essen. Participants learned not only about the role of the ministry in the country and European Parliament but also about the ongoing projects in Uzbekistan and potential support in development and knowledge sharing.
It is important to point out the following common topics discussed during each meeting: the importance of efficient and productive use of water resources, reduction of water consumption and renewable energy sources, the achievement of SDG 6, innovations in water sector, the accumulated experience of Germany in these issues for Uzbekistan and Central Asia. Answering the most frequently asked questions about “how Germany managed to reduce water consumption and change the attitude of the population to water” and summing up the study tour, the Senior Fellow at the IASS and international expert of UzWaterAware project Mr. Heinrich Wyes stressed the following:
“The efficient use of water — both for personal and agricultural or industrial use is always a combination of three factors — (i) education in early years about the limits of the availability of natural resources, (ii) awareness about the imminent beauty of those resources and (iii) pricing of water in a way which takes into account the real costs of environmental resources. Putting a price on the water taking into account social, economic, and environmental considerations are desired. There is a cost in making water available for people to use. That price, however, should be defined in the given context, as water quantity and quality differ between locations. Water pricing can be considered at two different levels; firstly, charges for the water resources, and secondly, charges for the water services. One should aim at setting a price that compensates for any damage done to nature while consuming it.”