(Re)configuration of Water Resources Management in Mongolia: A Critical Geopolitical Analysis

In Mongolia ‘water’ as a concept is constructed by local people based on the values and norms in which it was rooted in the past. Rivers and its resources are considered gifts from ‘Naga’ who is believed to be the snake lord for pure water resources, lakes, springs, waterfalls and rivers. However, the expectation to have ‘pure water’ has been challenged. Stress over water resource has gradually increased. Therefore, water resource management has been one critical theme in politics and policies in Mongolia with respect to climate conditions and socioeconomic impacts. With what scale and level water resources should be governed and managed has been a focal point in the water policy reform process.

2016.03.05 MongoliaMongolia as a transformative country after the decline of the socialist regime in 1990, has been experiencing neoliberal political economic changes. Consequently, new stakeholders have emerged and advanced into more powerful and influential settings in politics and policies in Mongolia. Under the new endeavor to implement the IWRM, the water basin has been submitted as the appropriate scale for water resource management. The selection of water basins as the hydrological scale in water management and institutionalization of water resource management attach with complex power dynamics to a transitional county with rapid institutional changes, political and policy reforms, and economic alterations. The research examines how stakeholders engage or disengage in water resource management in Mongolia and what the competing demands for accessing water resource are. The embedded design in the mixed research method with the interpretative approach was applied by conducting interviews, focus group discussions and water quality and quantity data analysis. The field research was mainly conducted within the multidisciplinary research project, Environmental Flow Assessment in Orkhon and Tuul Rivers Basins. The key analyses that can be derived from the research are as follows: scale (re)configuration connects with contextual power relations and political implications can be observed by analyzing the engagement of stakeholders in different steps with different competencies. Furthermore, these findings may assist to appropriately formulate the competing socioeconomic demands for sustainable water in future policy implementation of Mongolian water resource management.


acrobat icon (Re)configuration of Water Resources Management in Mongolia: A Critical Geopolitical Analysis