Water Supply Project for Urban Poor in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
The Second Ulaanbaatar Services Improvement Project (USIP2) in the capitol city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia has the primary objective of improving water supply to the urban poor in a sustainable manner. The urban poor areas are called “ger” areas by the local people. Gers are felt-covered tent-like structures that have been used by Mongolians for more than 1,000 years. Presently, ger residents obtain drinking water by going to kiosks or service stations and carrying the water back in containers. Residents may have to travel more than 350 meters (1,150 feet) in one direction to get to a kiosk. The difficulty in obtaining potable water has resulted in an average consumption of 10 liters per capita per day (2.6 gcpd). The minimum requirement for potable water recommended by the World Health Organization is 20 lpcd (5.3 gpcd).
This project, which is primarily funded by the World Bank, is trying to address this issue by providing more kiosks, most of which are supplied directly from a water main instead of by truck. This way, the distance between kiosk and resident is reduced to a maximum of 250 meters (820 feet), and there areas well as direct connections to the water mains for some institutions. Other goals of this project are to decrease energy usage by the local water supply company and improve telemetry for system-wide pressure monitoring and control. A pilot project will be performed that involves installing water and sewer connections into individual households to learn how to do this within a highly congested residential area and how to operate a localized wastewater treatment plant for treating the collected wastewater.
Some of the challenges of this project include a design frost depth of 3.8 meters (12.5 feet), significant rock and rubble excavation, hilly terrain, a high ground water table, inexperienced designers and contractors, inadequate construction equipment, and a construction season of only five months (if winter cooperates). The project has been ongoing for 2 years and will be completed in 2010.
John Kouba is a project manager with Hard Hat Services. John was appointed as the replacement project manager for this project for several months this summer. Mr. Kouba will be returning to Mongolia for additional project work in December. Please check back with us in 2010 for a project update.