Scientific research

Autumn and early spring irrigation as a mechanism to improve pastures in conditions of climate change in Southern Kazakhstan

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

Early irrigation of fields and pastures for the purpose of creation of moisture storages in the soil for a dry season in the Southern Kazakhstan.

Brief summary of technology:

The technology is implemented in the Sadu Shakirov village (Talas district, Dzhambyl province). During the Soviet period 2,105 ha of arable land and 66,408 ha of hay mowing in the village were irrigated from the Talas River by the Sharuashlyk channel. Increase of water intake in the upstream of the river led to falling water levels in the Talas River and in the channel. As a result, irrigated agricultural production became impossible, and arable land was used for all-year-round pasture of cattle. Channel maintenance stopped and it became unfit for use. A situation was aggravated by a climate change (decrease of precipitation, increase of temperature and summer droughts). Reduction of forage crops negatively affected animal husbandry and welfare of local population. Public association „Kogal of Sadu Shakirov village“ restored 12 km of the channel and 5 sluices with the purpose of carrying out autumn and winter moisturereplenishing irrigations during the period when the majority of water users upstream do not use water. The autumn and winter moisture-replenishing irrigations create moisture stocks in the 1.5-2 m soil layer, which are used by crops in spring and beginning of summer. Therefore, dates of the beginning of vegetative irrigations are postponed and their number is reduced.

Out of 90 ha of the irrigated fallow land, 60 ha were sowed by alfalfa to create fodder stocks for winter, and the remaining area was used for the natural hay land. As a result, productivity increased from 0.35 to 0.5 t/ha.

The purpose of technology consists of reduction of processes of land degradation and desertification through moisture accumulation in a crop root zone during autumn, winter and early-spring periods.

Location: Talas district, Zhambyl province.

Area of technology application: 560 ha.

Stage of intervention: mitigation / reduction of land degradation.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

Land degradation due to lack of surface water resources and aggravation of climate dryness

Main technical features of technology:

Increase of soil moisture accumulation, irrigation, improvement of soil cover, increase of biomass and biodiversity.

Type of land use Conservation measures

Pasture land.

Extensive Pasture land - Пэ(Ge).

Agronomic measures:

A5: Irrigation.

Vegetation measures:

В2: Grass and perennial grass plants.

Environment

Habitat

Average annual rainfall: 250-500 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 100-500 m.

Landscape: intermountain valley and plain.

Slope (%): 2-5% (gentle) and 5-8% (moderate).

Soil fertility: low.

Humus content in arable horizon: in average 1-3%.

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: good.

Anthropogenic environment

Size of land area (ha): 100-500 ha.

Landholder: communities, small and moderate scall land users.

Land ownership: state; rent for 49 years.

Water use rights: a rental fee is collected for the use of water during irrigation season.

Market orientation: mixed farming (subsistence and commercial).

Assessment

Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- reduction of soil degradation (wind and water erosion, loss of humus, etc.);

- application of winter irrigations allows to restore alfalfa crops which considerably improves soil quality;

- adaptation of local population to climate change;

- improvement of institutional communications and unity of local community.

Main disadvantages:

- possible water deficiency in the Talas River for irrigation;

- there is a probability of shortage of means at land users for technology realization.

Acceptance/adoption of technology: A tendency of growing acceptance of this technology cannot be considered as significant since many inhabitants are still afraid of a reduction of water availability in the Talas River because of high withdrawal of water by the upstream consumers.

Reference(s): WOCAT Database . Technology code: T_KAZ008ru.

Compiled by: A. Eschanova. CACILM MSEC. Date: 17.09. 2011.

Contact person: Anuarbek Ospanbek, Chairman of OO "Kogal". Address: 21, Konayev str., Shakirov village, Sadu, Talas district, Zhambyl Region, Kazakhstan. Tel./Fax: +7 (726) 413 62 38.

Name of person(s) collected this description: Tatyana Hamzina, Chief specialist on soil reclamation studies and irrigation regime. UZGIP LTD.

Address: 44, Navoi str., Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Tel.: +998 90 9945654

E-mail:  tatyana_khamzina@mail.ru 

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