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International water issues

There are about 210 rivers flowing through Mongolia into the Russian Federation and China. The first international agreement on transboundary water resources was between the governments of Mongolia and the USSR in 1974. This stipulated the use of water and protection of the Selenge river basin, which plays an important role in the economic and industrial development of both countries. The agreement made between the governments of Mongolia and the Russian Federation in 1995 on the protection of transboundary water resources focuses on over 100 small rivers and streams located in the western part of the country.

The drainage basins of the transboundary rivers between Mongolia and the Russian Federation cover almost one-third of Mongolia’s territory. In 1994, an agreement was signed between China and Mongolia on the protection of transboundary water resources concerning Lake Buir, the Kherlen, Bulgan, Khalkh rivers, and 87 small lakes and rivers located near the border. Transboundary water resources shared with China include surface water bodies in Dornod, Hovd, and Bayan-Olgiy provinces and groundwater resources in Govi-Altay, Omnogovi, Bayanhongor, Suhbaatar and Dornogovi provinces (UN, 2006b).


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