Thematic Module 1
River Basin Management

The MoMo project is working towards the development and implementation of a river basin management plan for the Kharaa basin in Mongolia. The legal, political and institutional framework is promoting the development of such plans.

The beginning of the new millennium saw an increased awareness in Mongolia regarding the vulnerability of the country's water resources in terms of quality and quantity and the role water will play as a basis for the country's socio-economic development. As a result, a policy focusing on the sustainable use of water resources has gradually been developed. Mongolia's Water Law of 2012 declared Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) to be implemented at the river basin scale, as the core concept for national water management.

Mongolia has continually reformed its water policies with the objective to solve the main challenges of institutionalizing river basin management (RBM) and IWRM. However, the continued ongoing transformations in other political, social and economic sectors sometimes constitutes additional challenges for the implementation of these reforms at both a national and river basin level.

Mongolia's water sector is complex, involving six national ministries, 13 main agencies and several minor agencies. In total, eight national laws deal with the protection, use and restoration of water resources. Moreover, there is overlapping legislation with regards to the protection and sustainable use of air, land, forest, wildlife and mineral resources. The Water Law of 2012 was intended as an "umbrella", coordinating all laws and by-laws concerning the water sector. One of its main requirements is the development of a national IWRM plan for Mongolia and each of the country's 29 river basins.

The resulting River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) are expected to fulfil four main tasks: (i) to assess the status of each specific river catchment; (2) to prevent potential water scarcity; (3) to protect water resources against pollution and (4) to allocate and use water resources in the most efficient way. The recommended measures should be implemented from 2015 to 2021.