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Research Project: MoMo

Integrated Water Resources Management in Central Asia - Model Region Mongolia (MoMo)

Integrated Water Resources Management in Central Asia – Model Region Mongolia (MoMo)

The IWRM MoMo project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and supervised by the Project Management Agency Jülich (PTJ) in the framework of the Research for Sustainable Development (FONA) program. The key objective of the project is the development and implementation of strategies leading towards an IWRM for a Mongolian model region (the Kharaa river basin) characterized by a water scarce environment and highly dynamic and competitive water uses.

The project is structured into three thematic modules dealing with hydrology and land use, aquatic ecology and water quality, and integrated urban water manage­ment. Three cross-sectional modules focus on monitoring and modelling, material flow and mass balances, and institutional analysis and capacity development. The project is carried out in close cooperation with Mongolian partners in science, administration, the business sector and the general public.

In the Kharaa basin (a tributary of the Selenga River which flows into Lake Baikal), like in other regions of Mongolia and Central Asia, the demand for water is growing and the availability of safe drinking water is becoming increasingly uncertain. Concurrently, available data of environmental variables is scarce and unreliable. Therefore, we investigate the natural drivers and human factors which lead to an unequal distribution of the water resources and thus water availability. Further, our hydro-climatological subproject is dealing with the impacts of global and regional change on the water resources, yet considering different spatial and temporal scales.

Since 2010 we have been conducting a monitoring program and field experiments in the upper Kharaa, in the remote Khentii Mountains (Sugnugur River), which act as water tower for the semi-arid steppe forelands. A number of hydro-climatic stations are operating across the transition belt between the steppe, the boreal zone and the alpine tundra, collecting data on hydrological characteristics, climatic conditions as well as ecological indicators. In additional field campaigns we investigate the water fluxes and water retention on different land cover and the impact of changing environmental conditions on the sensitive environment. A major focus is on the extensive forest fires which have been clearly increasing within the past 20 years. It is obvious that they have drastically changed the hydrological dynamics of the region, but their impact on the water availability of the dry steppe forelands is still unclear.

On three different spatial scales (plot scale, upper Kharaa, whole Kharaa basin) we apply hydrological models with different spatial and temporal detail. Model results are hourly to monthly data of simulated discharge and its components, snow cover, soil moisture, groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration. A principal tool supporting our model activities is remote sensing which delivers maps of snow cover development, land cover or the extension of the forest fires.

There is a clear and urgent need not only to develop a safe water supply for the local population, but to increase awareness and environmental education of stake­holders and young academics in the region. Therefore, in collaboration with the National University of Mongolia (NUM), we offer different teaching modules for Mongolian students which include practical exercises in the field as well as lectures on hydrology, water resources management and environmental change.

  • Lange, J., Kopp, B.J., Bents, M. & Menzel, L. (2014): Tracing variability of runoff generation in mountainous permafrost of semi-arid northeastern Mongolia. Hydrological Processes, accepted
  • Minderlein, S. & Menzel, L. (2014): Evapotranspiration and energy balance dynamics of a semi-arid mountainous steppe and shrubland site in northern Mongolia. Environmental Earth Sciences, accepted
  • Kopp, B.J., Minderlein S. & Menzel L. (2014): Soil moisture dynamics in a mountainous headwater area in the discontinuous permafrost zone of northern Mongolia. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, in press
  • Menzel, L., Hofmann, J. & Ibisch, R. (2011): Untersuchung von Wasser- und Stoffflüssen als Grundlage für ein Integriertes Wasserressourcenmanagement im Kharaa-Einzugsgebiet, Mongolei. Hydrologie und Wasserbewirtschaftung, 55 (2), 88–103
  • Törnros, T. & Menzel, L. (2010): Heading for knowledge in a data scarce river basin: Kharaa, Mongolia. In: Herrmann, A. & S. Schumann (Eds.): Status and Perspectives of Hydrology in Small Basins. IAHS Publication 336, Wallingford, 270–275
  • Menzel, L., aus der Beek, T., Törnros, T., Wimmer, F. & Gomboo, D. (2008): Hydrological impact of climate and land-use change – results from the MoMo project. In: Basandorj, B. & D. Oyunbaatar (Eds.): International Conference Uncertainties in water resource management: causes, technologies and consequences. IHP Technical Documents in Hydrology No. 1, UNESCO Office, Jakarta, 15–20
  • Wimmer, M., Schlaffer, S., aus der Beek, T. & Menzel, L. (2009): Distributed modelling of climate change impacts on snow sublimation in Northern Mongolia. Adv. Geosci., 21, 117–124
Bachelor and Master theses
  • Boris Pailliart: Räumliche und zeitliche Variabilität der Schneebedeckung im Einzugsgebiet des Kharaa (Mongolei). Eine Untersuchung der Winter 2000/2001 bis 2009/2010 mit MODIS-Schneeprodukten. Diplomarbeit an der Universität Heidelberg, Januar 2011
  • Jana Okurdil: Untersuchung des Forstbestandes in der Mongolei. Exkurs: Brandbekämpfung mithilfe von MODIS als Modell der Fernerkundung. Zulassungsarbeit (Lehramt) an der Universität Heidelberg, Juni 2011
  • Andreas Körner: Schneehydrologische Prozesse in der Mongolei. Eine explorative Studie zur Anwendbarkeit des Simulationsmodells TRAIN. Diplomarbeit an der Universität Heidelberg, Juli 2011
  • Marina Müller-Meißner: Veränderung des Wasserhaushaltes nach Brand in der Taiga im Westkhentej, Nordmongolei: Charakterisierung hydroklimatischer Standortparameter sowie Analyse des Blattflächenindexes durch Fernerkundung (MODIS). Diplomarbeit an der Universität Heidelberg, Oktober 2011
  • Benjamin Mewes: Simulation der Schneebedeckung im Kharaa-Einzugsgebiet (Mongolei) mit Hilfe des hydrologisch-klimatologischen TRAIN-Modells. Bachelorarbeit an der Universität Heidelberg, Juli 2012
  • Rebecca Ziergöbel: Analyse und Vergleich von Klimadaten verschiedener meteorologischer Stationen aus dem Flusseinzugsgebiet des Kharaa (Mongolei). Bachelorarbeit an der Universität Heidelberg, August 2012
  • Oliver Brück: Hydrologische Modellierung mit HBV-D auf der Grundlage großskaliger Klimamodelldaten des Water and Global Change Project (WATCH) im Einzugsgebiet des Kharaa Gol, Mongolei. Bachelorarbeit an der Universität Heidelberg, April 2013
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