In the framework of the UNDP-GEF Kura Project “Advancing Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) across the Kura river basin through implementation of the transboundary agreed actions and national plans” the project partners intend to guide national groundwater experts within the relevant authorities to conduct an agreed assessment of shared resources, and to provide a harmonized online data management system for groundwater monitoring to support the improvement of capacities of relevant responsible bodies in both Azerbaijan and Georgia, which will facilitate the management of the Alazani-Iori transboundary aquifer.
The issue of the proper use, development and protection of groundwater resources is one of the highest priorities of both Azerbaijan and Georgia. Management of groundwater requires precise knowledge of its sources (aquifers), usable quantity and quality. Monitoring of the aquifers started many years ago in the two countries and has provided large amounts of data. This was interrupted at the beginning of the 1990s by the internal political developments in the two countries.
The upstream-downstream dynamic, groundwater abstraction, and multiple sector demands in Georgia and Azerbaijan’s sections of the Kura river basin pose challenges towards achieving sustainable development and improved water, food, energy and environmental security. This is a common challenge in all transboundary river systems, and innovative approaches employed in the Georgian and Azerbaijan sections of the Kura Basin can serve as a model for the harmonization of national plans and priorities to ensure more sustainable development through integrated planning and flow management
The Kura II project must develop a conjunctive groundwater and surface water use strategy to ensure sufficient water availability for development and the environment. To achieve this, the project hired group of national and international experts to assess the available surface water and groundwater resources in the river basin and identify the gaps and challenges in managing these resources in both national and transboundary levels.
The experts group expressed the importance of developing a groundwater information system as a pilot in one of the transboundary groundwater basins between Azerbaijan and Georgia. The UNDP/GEF Kura II project aims to support the two countries in the development of this pilot groundwater information system.
- To guide national groundwater experts within the relevant authorities to conduct an agreed assessment of shared resources
- To support the implementation of the monitoring programme, including selection of the most suitable dataloggers and data transmission for the study area.
- To provide a harmonized online data management system for groundwater monitoring to support the improvement of capacities of relevant responsible bodies in both Azerbaijan and Georgia
IGRAC works in close cooperation with the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub for Europe, the Programme Coordination Unit of the GEF-UNDP Kura II and the national experts from Azerbaijan and Georgia in execution of this assignment.
IGRAC is responsible for the following activities:
- Technical report on Groundwater assessment of Alazani-Iori aquifer indicating the main characteristics of the aquifer and the major challenges facing the aquifer management
- Technical report on the design and implementation of a pilot project for groundwater monitoring in Alazani-Iori aquifer, including selection of data-loggers and data transmission
- Supervise the implementation and testing of equipment for the pilot project for the groundwater monitoring system through submission of equipment testing reports
- Setting up and supporting a dedicated space in the Global Groundwater Monitoring Network (GGMN) for storage, processing and dissemination of data from the developed monitoring system.
- Develop training modules and conduct a training on groundwater monitoring, including importance, context, data processing, use of a monitoring information system (GGMN), and assess the ability of the trainees to effectively use the equipment.