Published on Eurasian Perspectives

Water flows from the spring of Kyrgyzstan’s snowy mountains

Togotoi is a small mountainous village in the south of the Kyrgyz Republic. Last month, some colleagues and I traveled there to participate in a ceremony to mark the opening of a newly-built water supply system. Mr. Askarov, Vice-Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic and Mr. Sarybashov, Governor of Osh Oblast, opened the celebrations, signifying the high importance of this event for the local population.

The new water supply system at Togotoi is the first project to become operational under the Government’s National Rural Drinking Water Supply Program, which was launched last year and was called “Ala-Too Bulagy” – meaning “spring of snowy mountains.”
Togotoi villagers and school children celebrate the opening of their new water system.
With Vice-Prime Minister Askarov, we symbollically opened a water tap.
The 2,000 residents of Togotoi village will benefit from the new water supply. During the celebrations, we heard from several of them what the difference it will make to their lives. The Mamashov family invited us to visit their home, where they showed us their new washing machine – they said it would save them time in the future. The couple also installed a boiler, so that hot water is now available in the bathroom and kitchen.  Their neighbors are looking to do the same in their homes, the couple told us with broad smiles.    
A couple invited us to visit their home.

That same day, we also visited a children’s day-care center in the village. The children welcomed us with singing and dancing – they looked amazing in their traditional outfits! These children are now able to benefit from a reliable water supply and indoor toilet facilities! Thankfully, they will no longer have to fetch water from irrigation canals, open ditches, or water posts far from their homes. Instead, they can play and learn and enjoy their childhood.
Children in the day-care center surprised us with a lovely performance.

While celebrating, I was thinking that there is still much more work to be done in this village and in many other villages around the country. There is an urgent need to provide significantly more indoor toilets in schools, to promote sanitation and hygiene, and to disseminate practical solutions to improving household sanitation facilities. Rural administrations and local water service providers need to be enabled to deliver quality and sustainable services to the entire population, and professional training needs to be provided at all technical levels – from designers to technicians and mechanics.

The World Bank has provided US$ 60 million in support to the “Ala-Too Bulagy” program, through the Sustainable Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Development Project. This project will help about 100 villages, 99 schools, and over 200,000 people across the country with access to safe drinking water. The project is implemented by the Community Development and Investment Agency, in very close partnership with the Department of Drinking Water Supply and Waste Water Disposal, rural administrations, water service providers, local communities, and schools.

The trip into the mountains to the village of Togotoi left me and my colleagues with very strong emotions. It was a real pleasure for me to talk with the villagers and to hear about the development. And, by the way, the water from the “spring of snowy mountains” tasted great!


Bolormaa Amgaabazar

Portfolio and Operations Manager for the World Bank in Indonesia and Timor-Leste

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