Mongolian hydrogeology experts urged the nation to protect and conserve underground water due to high risks of contamination.
Mongolia uses 600 to 700 million cubic meters of water every year on average and more than 90 percent of the domestic drinking water is drawn from underground reserves, according to experts.
Executive Director of the Mongolian Association of Hydrogeologists G.Batjargal highlighted that the main sources of water for Ulaanbaatar are likely to be exposed to contaminants, during a press conference on Monday. The conference was held in an attempt to tackle water challenges through World Water Day.
Latest studies show that the large amounts of contaminants were found at the bottom of large rivers that supply water to Ulaanbaatar.
“We must monitor water bodies to prevent contamination in the main source of drinking water. Mongolia hasn’t conducted environmental monitoring in recent years. Honestly, hydrogeologists failed to determine the exact level of groundwater contamination with the previous monitoring survey. We’re only able to measure the level of water in rivers and other bodies of water,” urged G.Batjargal.
Experts say that Mongolia will be unable to recover lost sources of water as it is a land-locked country and pointed to growing industrialization and urbanization as the main causes of water contamination.
A recent research showed that Mongolia’s water reserves decreased by approximately 30 percent since 1980.
Hydrogeologists recommended taking measures to increase public awareness about water and further research water conservation.
N.Buyankhishig, the vice dean of the School of Geology and Mining Engineering of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, said, “All 17 goals of the UN Sustainable Goals are connected to water. It’s impossible to achieve sustainable development without resolving water challenges. We don’t provide water related education in Mongolia. Locals don’t have access to information about where water comes from, what it compromises of, and how it should be used. It’s especially important to improve children and young people’s knowledge about water.”
World Water Day is annually observed on March 22. This year’s World Water Day will focus on wastewater.
A research, conducted by the Public Health Center on the consumption of water in 2016, show that households in ger areas use 15.6 liters of water per person a day while households in apartments use 90 liters per person. Though water consumption of apartment residents is nearly six times higher than people in ger areas, their consumption doesn’t exceed water limits specified by WHO.