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Ulaanbaatar might run out of water by 2015

By M.ZOLJARGAL

A consultative meeting titled “The Queen River Tuul and Ulaanbaatar’s Fate” was held on March 20 to discuss the limited water resources in Ulaanbaatar and the measures needed to address impending water shortages. According to the meeting participants, Ulaanbaatar will begin to face severe water shortages in 2015.

The consultation was organized by the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Green Development (MNEGD) in cooperation with the National Water Authority and the Tuul River Basin Administration (TRBA) and was held to mark United Nations World Water Day, which will be celebrated on March 22 worldwide. This year’s theme is “Water Cooperation.” The day aims to raise awareness of the potential for water cooperation and to promote innovative solutions for developing water cooperation.

The meeting participants noted that Ulaanbaatar and other parts of Mongolia will face severe groundwater shortages within the next few years. They emphasized the importance of effective water management, as water is vital for human life, and discussed the urgent need to implement controls on the use of water by households and business entities. The participants also formulated a water development management plan for 2013-2030.

 

Below is brief interview with a senior official of the Data Control and Assessment Division of the TRBA, Ya.Boldbaatar, regarding the issue.

-Officials have reported that Ulaanbaatar will soon face water shortages. How much water is left?

-Ulaanbaatar city gets 98 percent of its water from groundwater. The city consumes 330,000 cubic meters (m3) of groundwater each day. At this rate, our city will begin to run out of groundwater in 2015.
-How is groundwater distributed?

-Groundwater is being distributed through four sources. The Central distribution supplies water to the area from West Central Intersection to Bayanzurkh District, and the remaining water is stored in Tasgan Pool. The Upper distribution supplies water via Tasgan Pool to the west side of Ulaanbaatar where the Third, Fourth, First, and Tenth Khoroolols are located. The Factory source supplies water for households and entities in Khan-Uul District, specifically 19th Khoroolol, 40 Myangat, 50 Myangat, 220 Myangat, and the railway station. The Makh Combinat supplies water to the area of Makh Combinat itself, the Oil Depot, Orbit, and Tolgoit.

-Surface water has also declined. A large number of fish are dying in the Tuul River too. Am I right?

-Yes. The Tuul, Selbe and Uliastai Rivers are the biggest sources of surface water. Water levels of the Tuul, Terelj and Khuin rivers have decreased. Worse still, the surface water in our country, especially in the Tuul river, is alarmingly polluted. Massive numbers of fish and fresh water animals are dying.

-It seems that although everyone worries about our drinking water, we are not doing anything to properly manage our use of it. What kinds of ways are there are to preserve our water resources?

-There is a way to access more groundwater through additional water well construction. It has also been proposed that we erect a concrete dam on the Tuul River, establish artificial lakes and pools, and recycle wastewater: treating it so that it can be used again. There is also potential to develop the Central Water Treatment Plant of the Ulaanbaatar Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (USUG) into a “Biogas Technology Complex” so as to treat sewage and use it for water supplies (exempting drinking water) and to form a bio-pond with the remaining water, which will support the Tuul River in times of drought.

-People are saying that we can solve the impending water shortages through redevelopment of ger districts. What do you say to that?

-A modern system has been proposed to manage ger district sewerage. Using this method, the sewage of households located above muddy soil with rocks or summer camp sites can be treated with nanotechnology. The treated water could then be supplied to bio ponds. Also, rainwater and naturally polluted (non-toxic) water can be treated, stored, and used too.

-How will you control business entities that consume water too much?

-The MNEGD and waste sector agencies are inspecting companies and installing water consumption calculators. The MNEGD is also requiring companies to conduct environmental impact assessments. If we introduce advanced technology for water saving into Mongolia, it will be easier to demand that companies contribute to water saving activities.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=3414

Posted by on Mar 22 2013. Filed under Domestic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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