The Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism (MNET) organized the Wastewater and Water Reserves forum on March 22 as part of Mongolia’s engagement in World Water Day.

The event was joined by representatives from the Ministry, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project for Mongolia, World Wildlife Fund, Joint Commission International, and Mongolian Environmental Civil Council.

Minister of Nature, Environment and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol gave an opening speech highlighting the importance of World Water Day.

“In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day. On this day, Mongolia organizes measures to promote the proper use of water, the significance of water, and ways to conserve water, as well as encourage private and public sectors to actively participate in these measures. We’re holding Wastewater and Water Reserves forum under this year’s theme – wastewater,” she said.

Minister D.Oyunkhorol thanked everyone who attended the forum and contributed in efforts to exploit wastewater and resolve related problems. She resumed her speech saying, “Wastewater is considered a lost opportunity and experts worldwide are seeking solutions for water scarcity. A total of 5.5 billion cubic meters of wastewater is discharged across the world every year, whereas in Mongolia, we use up to 600 million cubic meters of water and 470 million cubic meters are turned to wastewater. We must protect this valuable resource and conserve it by increasing water recycling and safe reuse.”

Participants of the Wastewater and Water Reserves forum
Participants of the Wastewater and Water Reserves forum

Melting of polar ice caps and glaciers attributed to climate change and global warming is causing significant reduction in water resources. Experts noted that Ulaanbaatar and other large cities in desert climate are facing mild water shortage problems due to sudden increase in water consumption related to urbanization and industrialization. There’s a requirement for Mongolia to increase its water resources through the conservation of flood water so that it can meet drinking water demands in the future using surface water, according to experts.

Water specialist of the Ministry L.Erdenebulgan warned that Mongolia will have to deal with serious water shortage by 2021 if wasteful water consumption continues. She recommended promoting the conservative use of water among the public, increase water recycling and reuse, and building a standard wastewater treatment facility to tackle water problems.

Six domestic wastewater treatment facilities and an industrial wastewater treatment plant operate in Ulaanbaatar. Reportedly, the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant receives 190,000 to 210,000 cubic meters of wastewater a day and discharge it into Tuul River after biological and mechanical treatments, and ultraviolet disinfection treatment. Due to the workload at the plant, wastewater level and water contamination has increased in recent years along with sludge processing problems. Addressing the urgent issue, Head of Engineering Policy Department of the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority N.Odkhuu advised building a new treatment facility during his speech at the forum.

During the forum, the MNET presented certificates of appreciation to five companies which promote water conservation, namely MCS Coca Cola LLC, Loro Piana Mongolia LLC, NST LLC, the National Center for Mental Health, and Future Holding LLC.

“Water Conservation, Protection and Technology” exhibition was also held as part of the event by 18 companies that recycle and reuse wastewater.

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