Spring session of the State Great Khural of year 2010 adopted many important laws and regulations on ecology, especially the national program “Water”. Artesian and soil water of Mongolia is drastically degrading and decreasing due to lack of policy and water protection mechanism. This spring session of SGK adopted national policy on the highly important issue. MP G.Bayarsaikhan has more on the issue.
Q: Can you explain our readers the main importance and content of “Water” program?
MP G.Bayarsaikhan: Due to the general degrading of the world climate change, mining boost and human factor, artesian and soil water reserve of Mongolia is dramatically decreased. Therefore, the parliament initiates “Water” program with purpose of monitoring and coordinating water and its consumption. It is important document when mining development is so aggressive and enthusiastic. Also it includes water consumption with standard of hygiene, sustainable consumption and establishing water reserve. If water is not sufficient enough, the development of the nation will become slower. Upon the implementation of the program, 70% of urban population and 60% of rural population will have supply of water with standard of hygiene. It will be implemented in two phases: 2010-2015 and 2016-2021.
Q: Along with clever consumption, water reserve is important. How many water reservoirs will be built?
MP G.Bayarsaikhan: It is not clear where to build and how many to be built. It is big creation work; therefore, study work is also required. If the water reservoir is built by private companies, it should be encouraged and supported by the Government. If possible, all available water reservoirs will be built. Also we should introduce high technology of saving and water recycling in Mongolia. This is also included in the program. Water is important for stable operation of Tavan Tolgoi and Oyu Tolgoi, therefore its hydrogeology study is must in the future.
Q: How much fund is required for the implementation of the program, from what resource?
MP G.Bayarsaikhan: ₮3 trillion is required. The fund will be formed by the foreign investment and income from the mineral resource.
Q: There is a statistical report that soil water reserve is decreased by 30% in the last 10 years. Do you have data for artesian water?
MP G.Bayarsaikhan: Scholars and scientists made research and made report that artesian water reserve is decreased by 2-12 meters. This is critical data and finding.
Q: You made initiative and proposal to consider artesian water as the strategic. What was the result?
MP G.Bayarsaikhan: Water is the most valuable resource in Mongolia. Copper coal can be replaced, but not water. Therefore, I heard was updated with opinions of scholars and scientists. In order to introduce appropriate water consumption, we should bring water price and evaluation up to the world standard. We are closely working on this part. Water shall be evaluated and considered as the mineralв I believe that the state will implement certain policy on this matter. Many MPs are also supporting it.
Q: Water is almost free in Mongolia. According to the Investment Agreement if Oyu Tolgoi, investor will use its explored water and possess right to sell it to the local people. Wasn’t it the breaching the paragraph of the Constitution of Mongolia “sub soil mineral shall be owned by the people of Mongolia”, was it?
MP G.Bayarsaikhan: I personally think that it is breaching the Constitution of Mongolia. Actually, mining lobby is quite strong in Mongolia. Foreigners want to acquire our wealth free of charge. Because, we even ignore our wealth. Also we should get rid of such mentality. Water in Mongolia is the cheapest in the world.