Strengthening integrated water resources management in Mongolia

The water sector in Mongolia virtually collapsed after the democratic revolution in the early 1990s. In line with international developments, there is now also demand in Mongolia for using integrated water resources management to tackle the current water challenges facing the country and to work on more sustainable development.


The water sector in Mongolia

There are currently a range of challenges facing the water sector in Mongolia: there is not enough safe drinking water, public sanitation is inadequate and mining has a negative impact on water quality. In addition, the vulnerable ecosystem is highly sensitive to climate change. Mongolia and its people urgently need innovative and integrated solutions that take local circumstances into account, such as the extreme climate, rapid economic growth and political change.

Support for the modernisation of water resources management in Mongolia

In response, a consortium including Deltares, Royal HaskoningDHV and UNESCO-IHE have been asked by the Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism to provide support for the modernisation of water resources management in the country. The aim of this four-year project was to strengthen the organisations responsible for water resources management and, at the same time, to develop an approach that will lead to sustainable water resources management and tackle the problems arising as a result of urbanisation, industrialisation and the neglect of the water systems.

Sharing knowledge

Knowledge transfer was a core element in the project. Together with three Mongolian universities, a Master’s programme for integrated water management was set up and water managers were trained locally. The consortium also helped the government with the development of a national water plan, regional water plans and the organisation of River Basin Councils.