Nakhchivan, May 04, 2020
Aim Texas Trading, LLC Overseas Management Group (AIMOMG) has attended a tender in providing consulting services as Sole Consultant for Preparing Irrigation and Drainage System Development in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (ADB TA9945 AZE).
The project will support rehabilitation and modernization of the irrigation and drainage networks serving about 23,230 ha of land in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR) of Azerbaijan. The project will also help strengthen institutional capacity of the irrigation system management and operators. The project will include two indicative outputs:
i. irrigation and drainage infrastructure improved and/or constructed; and
ii. capacity of the State Amelioration and Water Management Committee (SAWMC) and water users’ associations (WUAs) in irrigation and project management improved.
These outputs will result in the following outcome: irrigation and drainage system performance improved.
NAR is a landlocked exclave of Azerbaijan. It covers 5,500 km2 with a population of 452,800 in 2018, of which rural population accounts for more than 70%. NAR borders Armenia to the east and north, Iran to the south and west, and Turkey to the northwest. NAR is situated in the south-east of the Transcaucasia plateau. The climate of Nakhchivan is sharp continental. One third of the territory is composed of the Araz river plains.
Nakhchivan Administrative Divisions (illustrated by Aim Texas GIS team)
Irrigation is essential to increasing and sustaining agricultural production in most regions of Azerbaijan, including NAR. NAR has about 52,000 ha of irrigated land out of a total cultivated land of about 61,531 ha. Almost 90% of NAR’s agricultural production is obtained from irrigated land. The project area is currently served by several surface and groundwater irrigation schemes built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which source water mainly from the four reservoirs in NAR and the Araz river. The aging irrigation and drainage systems have fallen into disrepair and are in need of urgent rehabilitation. SAWMC estimates that about 30% to 50% of water are lost in major irrigation canals, which has resulted in groundwater tables rising to the planting layer and causing salinization of surrounding lands. Apart from that, as a main irrigation method, traditional “surface irrigation” or “flooding” are applied in the field.
Salinity is a serious problem in NAR. The main causes of salinization are the relatively high elevation of the Araz River, which restricts drainage from the Ara River plain. Too much irrigation water raises the groundwater table, and, with poor drainage, salts are not well leached from the soils. Also, the common clay content of soils promotes salinity due to low permeability and restricted effect of rainfall on leaching soils. In order to reclaim lands from salinization, soil tillage to increase infiltration rates, and periodic leaching of soils by irrigation are required.
Nakhchivan Cultivated Areas Map (illustrated by Aim Texas GIS team)
Overall scope of the consulting services is summarized below:
• Phase I: within 3 months after commencement, the consultant will:
o conduct rapid performance assessment of the current irrigation system and identify key weaknesses and constraints in the NAR.
o carry out hydrologic and hydraulic modelling to assess various water sources and whether remodeling of the canal networks is required.
o assess whether there is a need to increase pumping capacity and/or canal flow capacity; and
o recommend project scope for detailed feasibility studies. The consultant firm is responsible on which specialists will be fielded for Phase 1 tasks, but, at the very least, the team leader, deputy team leader, hydrology/hydraulic specialists, and remote sensing/geographic information system specialist should be fielded during Phase 1.
• Phase II: 16 months after commencement, the consultant will then conduct full-fledged feasibility studies for irrigation and drainage schemes identified in the first phase to meet both government and ADB requirements, undertaking due diligence in terms of technical assessment, economic and financial analysis, financial management assessment, procurement capacity and risk assessment, environmental and social safeguards, and social and gender assessment. During this phase, the consultants will also help the executing and implementing agencies prepare implementation start- up activities.