'Smart Water' sculpture at Chinggis Square
‘Smart Water’ sculpture at Chinggis Square

Mongolia started celebrating the World Water Day in 2005. Commemorating 2016’s World Water Day, Mongolia implemented the Smart Water project with the cooperation of Arts Council of Mongolia and the Embassy of the United States in Ulaanbaatar.

To improve public awareness of global concerns about the overconsumption of water, deficit of water reserves, and promoting the moderate use and conservation of water, the project organizers commissioned the creation of an ice sculpture called “Smart Water” at Chinggis Square on Tuesday. The ice sculpture was masterfully created by Columbia University graduate Yo.Tuguldur and sculptors Ts.Batmunkh, O.Altanbayar, G.Gantogtokh and D.Enkhbaatar.

The goal of placing the ice sculpture in the public square is to show the public what consequences follow the overuse of water and what environmental damage is caused to water reserves. The ice sculpture depicts sound waves from khuumii, Mongolian throat singing. It has a shape that evokes a heartbeat.  The waves descend from large to smaller waves and is sculpted as if the wave’s end is melting away. This sends the message that if we do not use water in moderation, humankind will suffer from water shortages, which will lead to death. The sculptors aimed to convey the message that even though ice is absorbed by soil when it melts, such inefficient water waste will create water shortages in the future. The ice sculpture is made of 15 tons of ice. The sculptors worked on it for three days.

During the sculpture’s unveiling ceremony, Minister of Nature Environment, Green Development and Tourism N.Battsereg delivered remarks, saying, “Water keeps many people working in sectors related to water employed. Cooperation and teamwork is needed from many people in various operations, such as water exploration, research in determining water reserves, collecting, exploiting, transferring, preserving, distributing, purifying, and improving the quality of water.

“Mongolia is operating with the aim to have water resources accessible to the population and economic sectors, as well as adhering to green development policy and preserving the natural balance.”

 Below is an interview with Director of the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Water Authority) S.Unen with Daily News on the occasion of World Water Day.

How is the Water Authority celebrating World Water Day and what measures were taken for the annual celebration?

International World Water Day is held annually on March 22, as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993, as the first World Water Day.

The Water Supply and Sewage Authority of Mongolia carries out a water campaign nationwide from March 22 to June 22. The United Nations called 2016  the year for better water and better jobs.

We have started celebration of World Water Day by placing an ice sculpture at Chinggis Square to increase the knowledge of Ulaanbaatar residents about water and to improve their habits to consume water moderately. Moreover, the authority is organizing a scientific conference for water specialists, as well as announcing a water-themed painting competition for students of around 20 general education schools.

We are also planning to organize events with the Embassy of Japan to educate residents on moderate water use and what projects have been implemented to improve Ulaanbaatar’s water supply.

What is the significance and purpose of celebrating World Water Day for three months?

The Water Supply and Sewage Authority determines its plans and schedule of operations three months in advance. The plan includes information on how much money will be spent on operations over three months. During this three months, the Water Authority receives complaints and requests from citizens and hears their thoughts on water policy. Besides meeting with citizens, we will also conduct various events on a wide range of subjects, such as discussing water reserve issues, improving and fixing plumbing networks, and discussing the significance of water treatment plants and more.