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Science-Based IWRM Implementation in a Data-Scarce Central Asian Region: Experiences from a Research and Development Project in the Kharaa River Basin, Mongolia

Department Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis and Management, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Magdeburg 39114, Germany
Department Ecohydrology, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin 12587, Germany
Department of Urban Water and Waste Management, Duisburg-Essen University, Essen 45141, Germany
Department of Geography, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg 69120, Germany
Institute of Geography-Geoecology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
Center for Environmental Systems Research, Kassel University, Kassel 34109, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Markus Disse
Water 2015, 7(7), 3486-3514;
Received: 27 March 2015 / Revised: 27 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 June 2015 / Published: 1 July 2015
Mongolia is not only a water-scarce but also a data-scarce country with regard to environmental information. At the same time, regional effects of global climate change, major land use changes, a booming mining sector, and growing cities with insufficient and decaying water and wastewater infrastructures result in an increasingly unsustainable exploitation and contamination of ground and surface water resources putting at risk both aquatic ecosystems and human health. For the mesoscale (≈15,000 km2) model region of the Kharaa River Basin (KRB), we investigated (1) the current state of aquatic ecosystems, water availability and quality; (2) past and expected future trends in these fields and their drivers; (3) water governance structures and their recent reforms; and (4) technical and non-technical interventions as potential components of an integrated water resources management (IWRM). By now, the KRB is recognized as one of the most intensively studied river basins of the country, and considered a model region for science-based water resources management by the Mongolian government which recently adopted the IWRM concept in its National Water Program. Based on the scientific results and practical experiences from a six-year project in the KRB, the potentials and limitations of IWRM implementation under the conditions of data-scarcity are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: IWRM; data scarcity; Mongolia; Central Asia IWRM; data scarcity; Mongolia; Central Asia
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Karthe, D.; Hofmann, J.; Ibisch, R.; Heldt, S.; Westphal, K.; Menzel, L.; Avlyush, S.; Malsy, M. Science-Based IWRM Implementation in a Data-Scarce Central Asian Region: Experiences from a Research and Development Project in the Kharaa River Basin, Mongolia. Water 2015, 7, 3486-3514.

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