Strengthening Ground Water Management in Southern Gobi Areas of Mongolia
Project fund: $5,000,000
Project Term: June 2012- June 2017
Project geographical coverage: Southern Gobi Areas
National and provincial beneficiaries: Ministry of Environment and Green Development, Water Basin Authorities, Water Basin Councils, water user communities: local communities, private and state industries
The project covers over 34.5% of the total territory of Mongolia and while rich in mineral resources the region has scarce water sources. The region supports significant mining operations as well as traditional herding and agriculture production. Scarce water resources combined with the competing uses for these resources necessitates effective and efficient management of water use to promote local sustainable development, support communities, and avoid conflict.
For these reasons Australia is working with the World Bank to support improved ground water management in the Southern Gobi through the Strengthening Ground Water Management Project, which forms a part of the World Bank’s Mining Infrastructure Investment Support (MINIS) project.
The Ground Water Management Strengthening Project has assisted the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to strengthen the institutional capacity in ground water management in the Southern Gobi Areas through a) establishing and operating three water authorities and 2) establishing a ground water monitoring network in the areas.
Since their establishment in 2014, three water basin authorities have introduced a standardised water meter mechanism at the major water usage points to better measure water consumption and charge more accurate fees for consumption; conducted training for over 300 officials and community representatives from 95 soums in 10 provinces during 2015-2016; established an advocacy program to bring consistency into public messaging and ensuring information on ground water situation, challenges and requirements is available to the public; conducted a surface water census; and created a water data base in the region.
With professionally trained staff employed by the three water basin authorities, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has strengthened its capacity to enforce ground water usage policies in the Southern Gobi Areas. By June of 2017 the water basin authorities will fully integrate into the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The Project has also established a network of groundwater monitoring stations that report ground water levels back to the MEGD and allows authorities to know the volume of water resources available and measure the usage of water in the region.
The establishment of a ground water monitoring network in the Southern Gobi is an important achievement in providing reliable data on ground water levels and usage in this region. The network consists of 99 offline and 20 online measurement stations that record changes in water levels once a month and every six hours respectively. The data is stored centrally at the MEGD and the Ministry compiles the data into records and produces reports on water levels and usage to inform research and policy development as well as public.
The Groundwater Monitoring Network System established with support of the Ground Water Management Strengthening Project
Map courtesy of WB MINIS Project
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