The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) hosted a technical workshop on ground water modeling from March 30 – April 2 in coordination with the Ministry of Environment, Green Development, and Tourism (MEGDT). USACE said that in the four years they have been coming to Mongolia, this year’s water workshop was the most successful due to the knowledge and enthusiastic participation of all involved. The USACE, working with the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Geological Survey, UNESCO, and a local Mongolian NGO, the Freshwater Institute, helped a diverse group of workshop participants understand groundwater principles; aquifer characterization; and, the type of data necessary to design a groundwater model for the Tuul River Basin in Mongolia. Approximately 40 participants from about 15 different Mongolian water organizations and companies attended the technical workshop, including representatives from MEGDT, other governmental and non-governmental organizations, universities, and private companies.
Ms. Bulgan, the acting State Secretary of MEGDT, gave the opening remarks at the workshop, and offered her strong support for follow-up activities. Mr. Hans Thulstrup, the program specialist for natural sciences at the UNESCO Beijing office also presented information on the UNESCO’s World Water Report. In addition to the many workshop participants working on the Tuul River Basin model, 20 participants said they intend to work on ground water models for the Gobi region in the next 5 years. Other topics for the next phase of the training were also discussed, including more advanced topics in groundwater modeling.
Water use and water scarcity are critical issues for Mongolia. An ADB report released in 2014 shows Ulaanbaatar, which relies on water from the Tuul River basin, will be forced to draw on additional Tuul basin groundwater sources, estimated to be 37.1 million m3/year, to stave off water shortages until 2021. At that time, there could again be water shortages, according to ADB’s projections.