06ASTANA146, CLEAN WATER PROGRAM GIVES KAZAKHSTANIS TASTE OF DEMOCRACY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ASTANA146 2006-09-26 14:18 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO0686
RR RUEHAST RUEHDBU
DE RUEHAST #0146/01 2691418
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261418Z SEP 06
FM USOFFICE ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0263
INFO RUEHAST/USOFFICE ASTANA 0284
RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY 0231
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 0030
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 0027
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0026
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 0027

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000146 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR OES/PCI (SALZBERG); EPA FOR OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (B. FREEMAN) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SENV EAID KZ
SUBJECT: CLEAN WATER PROGRAM GIVES KAZAKHSTANIS TASTE OF DEMOCRACY 
 
 
1. Summary:  On September 21, ESTH officer observed local water 
committee elections in the village of Bayanday (population 870), 
the seventh village to participate in the Clean Water Financing 
Program for Kazakhstan.   The program, funded in part by the 
EPA, provides clean drinking water to small isolated villages 
suffering from high rates of water borne diseases.  Water 
systems have been completed in six villages, at an average 
construction cost of $50,000.   As a result, over 8,000 
Kazakhstanis have gained access to safe drinking water.   The 
villagers have also gained valuable exposure to the democratic 
process, as the program mandates that each village must elect a 
water committee to oversee the water system.   The cessation of 
EPA funding, however, leaves the future of the program is in 
doubt.  End summary. 
 
Sustainability Through Ownership 
 
2.  Clean water remains a scarce commodity in Kazakhstan's 
villages.  Half of the 840 villages in the Almaty region do not 
have access to safe drinking water.  The Clean Water Financing 
Program, designed and implemented by the Global Environment 
Technology Foundation (GETF) and the International Center for 
Environment Finance (ICEF), with funding from the EPA, aims to 
provide clean drinking water to isolated villages suffering from 
high rates of water-borne diseases. 
 
3.  In order to ensure sustainability, the program requires that 
each participant village pay ten percent of the costs needed to 
construct a new, or rehabilitate an old, water system.  In the 
six completed projects, costs for villages have ranged from 
$3707 to $5769, or roughly three to four dollars per villager. 
The villages are also fully responsible for the system's 
operation, maintenance, and reserve fund.   According to Diyas 
Jubandykov, GETF Country Director, the average monthly tariff 
paid by each villager is approximately 25-50 cents. 
 
4.  To further create a sense of ownership, each village is 
required to elect a water committee to democratically manage and 
operate its water system.  Working through the water committee, 
villagers agree upon the numbers of hours each day the system 
delivers water, which, in turn, determines the monthly tariff 
rate.  Once elected by the villagers, the water committee 
chooses a director and elects members of the audit, management, 
and operations committee. 
 
5. Thus far, six villages, with a combined population of over 
8,000, have received access to clean water through the Clean 
Water Financing Program.  The EPA has funded each project, 
spending between $25,000 and $40,000.   No further EPA funding 
exists.  The Philip Morris Corp. paid for the project in 
Bayanday, which is scheduled to be finished in November 2006. 
Norway is supporting one project in the village of Ghalgyzagash, 
also scheduled to be completed in November 2006. 
 
6. The GOK has expressed interest in the Clean Water Financing 
Program.  Anatoly Ryabtsev, Chairman of Kazakhstan's Committee 
on Water Resources, has publicly stated that Kazakhstan should 
consider adopting similar methodology when providing clean water 
to small villages.  As of now, however, Kazakhstan has yet to 
implement any programs mirroring those of the Clean Water 
Financing Program. 
 
7. Therefore, according to Jubandykov, one ultimate goal of the 
ICEF is to demonstrate that its program is a more effective 
means of creating sustainable clean drinking water systems than 
existing GOK programs.  Jubandykov said that ICEF would first 
like to strengthen the sustainability of its program by 
establishing a financial cooperative, which would serve as 
central bank holding the reserve funds from all participant 
villages.  Each village would be able to borrow funds from the 
pooled fund to defray the cost of future repairs and 
improvements.  Jubandykov believes that a successful financial 
cooperative would require the participation of 10-15 villages. 
 
Democracy Comes to Kazakhstan 
 
8. On September 21, ESTH officer traveled to the village of 
Bayanday, 30 miles outside of Almaty, to watch the village's 
water council hold committee elections.  Council members, who 
were elected by the entire village, met to elect a director and 
representatives for the council's audit, management and 
operation committees. 
 
9. The elections were held at Bayanday's small two room school 
house, decorated with balloons and streamers for the event. 
After opening remarks by the county's deputy governor, council 
members gathered in line and entered the designated voting area, 
 
ASTANA 00000146  002 OF 002 
 
 
one at a time.  Most voters entered solemnly, but left with 
smiles on their faces.  The votes were quickly tabulated and the 
council gathered again in the schoolhouse to hear the results. 
While the director was elected unanim
ously, competition was 
tight for the other positions.  With positions now established, 
the council will meet at least every once every three months to 
discuss the water needs of their village constituents. 
 
10. Comment:  At a low cost, the Clean Water Financing Program 
for Kazakhstan has provided clean drinking water to over 8,000 
Kazakhstanis, influenced GOK thinking on water issues, and 
enabled seven villages to hold true democratic elections.  With 
word of mouth spreading about the program, enthusiasm has 
gradually replaced skepticism among Kazakhstanis.  Several 
villages have approached GETF Country Director Jubandykov, money 
for construction costs in hand, ready to begin the program. 
Unless additional donors are identified, however, the Clean 
Water Financing Program is unlikely to have the funds to create 
water systems in additional villages.  End comment 
MILAS

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