MIU Begins Research on Impact Assessment of River Dam Construction

The water shortage in general area of Ulaanbaatar city reached a critical level due to extended drought and explosive increase in the city population. The changes in life style from traditional ger living to modern apartment dwelling also drastically increased the water demand. So far, majority of water supply came from numerous wells pumping ground water. But the estimate is that by the year 2018, most of wells will dry out and water supply will be extremely limited. Even more worrisome is the fact that even this ground water is getting contaminated by untreated sewage and some industrial pollution despite a strong law to regulate ground dumping. To solve this water shortage problem, the City of Ulaanbaatar is planning to build a dam on Tuur river that flows through the city. This dam will hold river water and after treating, city will get abundant water supply that will overcome this apparent water shortage. But experts are worried about potential damage to the ecology and city environment once the dam is built and the downstream water flow get blocked.

Initiated by the solicitation of Metropolitan Water District of Ulaanbaatar, a research team of several faculty members of MIU and Mongolia National University of Medical Science has initiated research plan that assesses the environmental impact and the effect of water quality to human health. The team is headed by Dr. Ashtosh Mohany, Director of MIU’s Truman Graduate School of Public Administration and an expert in Environment Impact Assessment. Other team members include Dr. Meridith Praamsma, a faculty of Mongolia National University of Medical Science who specializes in health medicine and Dr. Marosi Bela of Biotechnology department of MIU, a specialist in Ecology and Genetics. The research project is administered by Dr. Chung Lee, the dean of MIU graduate School and is an expert in computer simulation. The liaison is done by Mrs. Sunhee Oh, the director of Public Affairs of MIU. The team visited the administrative office and water testing lab to discuss about the research project and assess the testing capability of UB Water District lab. This is a pilot research project and after initial phase, a research grant will be applied to funding agencies like KOICA or UNDP (United Nations Development Project). Through this research, MIU is hopeful to contribute to the solution of water shortage problem that is forthcoming.