Water management has caused severe disputes in Central Asia, due to conflicting needs and priorities between the upstream and downstream countries, thus endangering regional stability and security. Through the Central Asia University Partnerships Program (UniCEN), administered by American Councils for International Education and funded by the U.S. State Department through the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Taraz State University are building institutional capacity for sustainable groundwater in Central Asia.

In Spring 2021, researchers from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Taraz State University gathered to discuss and provide solutions to groundwater sustainability in Central Asia, particularly in the Aral Sea region. Professors identified priority areas for collaboration: remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) technologies for water resources management, water quality monitoring and water reuse for irrigation, and groundwater and surface water modeling.

Looking ahead, partners are planning scholar exchanges and addressing the gaps around technical and vocational education and training) program through university-industry partnerships.