Water, Infrastructure and Climate Change

Schoolchildren of Rudaki district have an access to safe drinking water now
Schoolchildren of Rudaki district have an access to safe drinking water now ©SCO Tajikistan

Water is fundamental to life, health, and development. Yet Tajikistan, which has abundant water resources, struggles to supply its people with sufficient safe drinking water and sanitation. As the population in rural areas is thinly spread, the provision of basic services such as health, education, safe drinking water and sanitation is still a big challenge. Tajikistan has the lowest rate of access to safe drinking water in the region.

Switzerland has been supporting the country to develop sustainable water and sanitation systems since 1998.  In the villages where the Swiss-funded water program is being implemented, access to safe drinking water has further helped to reduce waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea by more than 50%. Moreover Khujand, the second largest city in the country with a population of 165’000, now also has access to safe drinking water.

The successful operation and maintenance of public infrastructure requires also the necessary know-how and adequate institutions. In rural areas, local communities are therefore being encouraged to set up water users associations –legal entities which are in charge of operating and maintaining the water supply systems. In urban areas, the program provides capacity-building to water utilities to improve their management.

Finally, Switzerland is actively involved in a policy dialogue with the Government on reforms in the water sector. The aim of these reforms in the drinking water sector is to decentralize the responsibility and the financial management for the drinking water providers (utilities in the cities and water user associations in the villages) from the national to the regional level. This shall ensure that they are run in a transparent and efficient way and that they operate in a financially and operationally sustainable manner.

The long term goal is to improve living and health conditions of Tajikistan’s population by ensuring that men, women and children have equal and sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Installation of early warning system in Shugnan, GBAO
Installation of early warning system in Shugnan, GBAO ©AKAH Tajikistan

As numerous natural disasters are water-related and affect a huge part of the population, infrastructure and facilities, Switzerland has made Disaster Risk Reduction and climate change integral parts of this domain. By doing so, Switzerland wants to strengthen local communities to prevent, prepare for and respond to natural disasters, the country is highly prone to. An integrated approach is applied to sustainable natural resource management and human activities in watershed management to reduce negative impacts of disaster and climate risks and improve the safety of the communities. The overall goal is to improve living conditions of the population and create a safer environment.


Caroline Penn/Panos

Equitable access to water for all is one of the major challenges of the 21st century. Hundreds of millions of people are deprived of water, not because it is a rare commodity but because of poverty, social inequality and a lack of political resolve. The SDC places the use of water for people and their food security at the centre of its work.

The SDC's worldwide engagement

Solar panels for hot water in Poland

This facilitates sustainable access to and use of infrastructure and resources such as raw materials, water and energy, particularly in urban areas.

The SECO’s worldwide engagement