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Georgia has a number of laws and regulations governing water resources, dating back to the late nineties and partially amended after 2003. Changes, however, have not always followed a clear and coherent strategy. As a result, in the words of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the current legislation is an “unworkable and fragmented system”. The Government of Georgia (GoG) has started changing the Georgian water management legislation to meet the obligations deriving from the Association Agreement (AA) signed with European Union (EU) in June 2014. The implementation of the principles of the EU Water Framework Directive (EU WFD), is seen as a possible solution for the pressing challenges characterizing Georgia’s water management sector, the main ones being water pollution and the inefficient use of water resources.

Currently, the Georgian agricultural sector is characterized by relatively low productivity (by international standards) and its contribution to the GDP of the country is much lower than what it could be, considering that 45%1 of the Georgian labor force is currently employed in agriculture. Increasing the productivity and competitiveness of the Georgian agricultural sector could, therefore, generate substantial economic and social benefits.

There are many bottlenecks that contribute to this current state of affairs:

• Low quality and quantity of irrigation and drainage services;

• Inefficient use of water by farmers;

Due to the geomorphological characteristics of its territory and to its geographical location, the Re- public of Georgia is rich in hydro resources. According to the Georgian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, so far Georgia has exploited only about 20% of its hydro resource potential. Since 2006 the Georgian government has been planning to utilize these resources to not only meet domestic demand, substituting hydro fully for electricity imports and thermal power plant (TPP) generation (burning imported gas), but also to turn Georgia into a regional provider of electricity.

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