5 April 2021 marked the beginning of a 5-year timeline for the $350 Million USD Mongolia Water Compact which was launched by the Government of Mongolia in partnership with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a foreign aid agency established by the US Congress in 2004.
The aim of the Mongolia Water Compact is to increase the clean water supply to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, more than 80 Percent by 2026 and support the long-term sustainability of this water supply through infrastructure investments and supporting legal reforms and policies.
New infrastructure investments will go towards building two new plants – an Advanced Water Purification Plant and Wastewater Recycling Plan – and the construction of more groundwater wells across the city.
The Government of Mongolia will invest a further $111.8 Million USD to support the initiative – one of the largest investments that MCC has received from a partner country.
Since establishment in 2004, MCC has taken an evidence-based approach to provide a number of grants to developing countries, including Indonesia and Nepal, to support economic development, environmental sustainability and tackle poverty.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of MCC, Mahmoud Bah, said: “Access to water is a critical human need. In less than three decades, the population of Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, has nearly tripled in size and the data indicates the city’s demand for water will soon exceed supply”.
“Enhancing water access in an environmentally sustainable way is critical to achieving poverty reduction and economic growth”, Bah added.
The compact must follow a strict 5-year schedule due to the substantially short construction season in Mongolia, which is unlike other Compact countries, according to E. Sodontogos, CEO of MCA-Mongolia.
Ms Sodontogos reassured, however, that this shorter timescale won’t hinder the quality of the project: “To ensure quality, contractors with both dedication and experience have to be selected to anticipate, mitigate, and manage...risks related with COVID-19 and others.”
“We are confident that we will overcome potential challenges and successfully implement the Mongolia Water Compact through joint effort and mutual understanding of our stakeholders, including the Government of Mongolia, the Capital City authority, the private sector, the academia and the general public".