Tajikistan taking tips from Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tajikistan taking tips from Arkansas

Posted By on Wed, Mar 12, 2008 at 6:59 PM

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Sherali Akhmadzhonovich Shermatov, Director, Republic of Tajikistan Water and Sewage State Subsidiary, mans ship with Chuck Blair, Vice Commodore, Grand Maumelle Sailing Club.

An unusual envoy was in town today: a group of Tajik officials studying ways to improve their country’s drinking water.

The group consisted of NGO and government employees who work on water issues. Apparently their hands are full: one representative said that even in the capital, Dushanbe, not all residents have access to reliable drinking water. Tajikistan, a country of 7 million, lacks proper infrastructure to transport water to many residents in rural areas. It has also been subject to occasional flooding and other acts of nature that affect water supply.

This afternoon the group took a tour of Lake Maumelle, which was constructed in the 1950s to provide Central Arkansas with drinking water. Proposed development on the lake has caused some controversy in recent months; the Tajiks heard from representatives of Central Arkansas Water and Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed about the lake and the possibility of pollution if development occurs.

The Tajik officials are in Arkansas the entire week visiting with government officials and environmental groups. They met with Mayor Stodola on Monday and will be taking a jaunt down to Des Arc tomorrow.

The trip was arranged by the Open World Leadership Center. Open World is administered by the Library of Congress, whose head, James Billington, is a Soviet and Russian scholar. The Arkansas Council for International Visitors is running the trip logistics. The group routinely hosts foreign visitors to Arkansas.

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