Survey shows rivers, lakes drying up in Mongolia

The Dry Beds of Mongolia's Selbe River

A government survey shows that there is less surface water, rivers, lakes and wells, than were present four years ago during the last survey. 

The survey, conducted by the Water Authority and the State Professional Control Agency, revealed that over 1,200 rivers have dried up in Mongolia. Four years ago, more than 5,100 rivers were counted while today there were fewer than 3,900. 

Government officials also said 2,600 lakes are now dry, out of a total of 3,700, while 23,000 of the country’s 93,700 springs are dry. Further, of the more than 400 mineral waters, 110 have disappeared.   

Commenting on the situation, Z.Batbayar, Water Authority head said many reasons are to blame for this problem including climate conditions and human factors, such as gold mining and the operation of tanneries. Both of these industries use large amounts of water.  

Also, it was observed that rivers have dried up mostly in areas surrounding the city and aimags' centers.   

The report also noted that Mongolia has 64 sewage plants, 13 hydro power plants, 64 dykes, 102 irrigation systems, and 42,000 wells. 


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Archived Comments
2008-11-19 04:30:34
\"American\" capitalism does come with a price. Mongolia is making many great advances however the me driven economy is not a sustainable one. This has been very obvious lately in our world news. One of the lesser observations during my time in Mongolia was the rapid addiction to this mindset. The lesser qualities often become the greater influencers especially among a younger demographic, which is predominate in Mongolia.
2008-11-19 05:33:22
If the data are correct, then it is a disaster in progress. What will people do? Drink CocaCola maybe?
2008-11-19 15:36:50
I don\'t agree with the two comments above me. Capitalism does not necessarily come with a price if you implement it efficiently. It is the lax government that is ruining Mongolia\'s natural wonders. The government does not legislate productive laws and it never enforces or abides by it. It is the corrupt state of our leaders that are driving civilians to the state of desperateness.
2008-11-20 07:02:50
True. Capitalism implemented effectively has many positives. All governments are corrupt. This includes the US government more than any. American style capitalism wich promotes overindulgence and excessive lifestyle does begin to fall apart. There is a limit to \"everyone\" having it all and having more.
2008-11-20 08:51:47
Capitalism without sensible regulation simply promotes a \"dog eat dog\" society. The real problem seems to be deciding how much regulation is required to protect the environment and yet not discouraging commercial enterprise. However, as it is still relatively \"early days\" for Mongolia\'s fledgling economy and environmental impact awareness, perhaps adopting the \"precautionary principle\" and keeping the situation under review might be the best way forward.
2008-11-20 12:32:57
Sensibility and cautious progression? Probably so. Maybe so. Seems the more smart and concerned people get and stay involved in the full process of government in Mongolia the more likely favorable results will follow. So long as Mongolians seek to be maintain history and culture while carefully considering long term efects, as you stated... In any case. Wish the best for a beautiful country.
2008-11-20 14:03:13
Unfortunately, there is a common perception in the West, that Mongolia, although a wild and beautiful place, is with regard to commercial activities, also relatively lawless and easily exploited. It will require a sustained effort over years and much skill, to communicate to the rest of the world that this will no longer be the case. Of course, this is easier to say than do, when a large part of the population are struggling to look after their families in difficult economic conditions. However, I am sure there will be much effort to find a pragmatic solution. Mongolia will always have my best wishes and I will be following your progress with much interest in the years ahead.