2030 Water Group

The economic development in Mongolia puts a strain on the water resources in areas where demand of water requires large water supplies. Hence, in some cases, water is not only a limiting factor for economic growth and development, but also an opportunity. The focus of this analysis lies on the coal mining regions Tavan Tolgoi and Nyalga Shivee Ovoo, in which many investments in coal value adding technologies, including power plants, coal washing, coal-to-liquid and coal-to-briquette, are planned. This study assesses the water demand-supply gap by 2040 in each region and prioritizes implementable solutions to close the gap to allow for sustainable economic development.

This study identifies a wide range of water demand reduction and water supply augmentation measures. All identified measures jointly have the potential to make 67.34 mn m3/yr (gap: 34.25 mn m3/yr) in Nyalga Shivee Ovoo and 53.11 mn m3/yr (gap: 18.85 mn m3/yr) in Tavan Tolgoi of water resources available, thus closing the gap. Consequently, water resource availability does not pose a constraint to further socio-economic development, if selected water demand reduction or supply augmentation measures are implemented.

The outcome of the holistic hydro-economic analysis shows that the water supply demand gap in the high scenario in Nyalga Shivee Ovoo region can be closed at an incremental cost of 33.2 mn USD/ yr when compared to the baseline technology alternatives.1 The most cost effective solutions are demand reduction measures at the mines and (planned) projects, including changes in dust suppression, efficiency improvements related to cooling systems and cooling water treatment, as well as the installation of FGD and efficient sprinklers. Jointly, these measures have the potential to close 86% of the gap. The remaining gap (4.7 mn m3/yr) can be closed in the most cost effective way by developing selected new groundwater boreholes. However, given that analysed groundwater resources are non-renewable in the Gobi region, preference may be given to less cost-effective water demand solutions before additional groundwater is abstracted. This would increase the incremental costs to close the gap to 36.5 mn USD/yr, necessitating only 2.95 mn m3/yr (instead of 4.7 mn m3/yr) to be abstracted from local groundwater sources.