Water is the most important need of living things. Although water is not a new topic for us, it has always been one of the top issues in world history. In recent years, due to air and water pollution, there has been a lot of discussion about drinking water and public pay more attention on this.
Like other countries’ citizens, Mongolians are getting more knowledge about protecting its drinking water and spending efficiently. In this article, we will give you advice on drinking water in Mongolia, how it is transported and used, and whether you can drink tap water.
Where it came from in Ulaanbaatar?
Although we get more than 80 percent of our drinking water from the ground, the water resource is opposite. For example, 80 percent of the total water resources come from the surface and the remaining 20 percent from the ground. Thus, there is Water and Sewerage Authority taking responsible for the Ulaanbaatar Water Supply. They extract and distribute 150,000-160,000 m3 of fresh water per day while they pump out 160,000-170,000 m3 of wastewater.
Currently, there are seven major sources and three small sources of drinking water in Ulaanbaatar city. Particularly, they are all for a population of about 1.3 million people and more than 4,500 enterprises in Ulaanbaatar city. For apartments, the total length of the water distribution line is 586 km, of which consists of steel, cast iron lines, flexible cast iron and plastic lines.
70% of Ulaanbaatar’s population lives in ger areas that are not connected to any infrastructure. So they use drinking water from wells. According to the 2018 survey, there are 1770 wells and reservoirs in the capital city. People also may dig wells in their backyards. Prior to the early 2000s, people had used water from wells and tap water directly without boiling. However, due to diseases caused by unboiled water, people have recently been trying to use tap water or well water filtered by jug or boiled instead of drinking it directly.
Can I drink the tap water in Mongolia?
No, the tap water in Mongolia is not safe to drink. Although it looks clear, is not safe for drinking unless it has been boiled or filtered by jug.
Even in Ulaanbaatar city, water from the tap is not well filtered, sterilized, or purified. So this may carry hazardous contaminants like sediments, rusts, bacteria, virus, chlorines, or other heavy metals. Moreover, it is fine to use tap water for washing your clothes, brushing your teeth, taking shower, washing your face and hands.
Drinking Water in Hotels and Restaurants
In hotel, they will provide visitors with boiler to boil tap water. Also you can get purified water from the restaurant or bottled water from groceries. Also the most restaurants in Ulaanbaatar serve water for free of charge before the meal. Most restaurants also have bottled water or other beverages on their menu. However, you must pay for them and the price is usually higher than in the supermarkets.
Drinking Water in Tourist Sites
Some sites such as tourist camps and nomadic family offer free drinkable water. Kindly check whether it is boiled if it is from well. In the most sites, there are stores and groceries selling bottled water and other drinks. Usually, 0.5 liter bottled water is sold by MNT 500-1000 and 1 liter bottled water is MNT 1000-1500.
Drinking Water in Airports & Railway Stations
At the airports and train stations there are stores and retailers selling bottled drinks although the price may be bit higher than elsewhere. Or you can find hot boiled water from cafeteria near, but you must pay for them and the price is a cup of hot boiled water is mostly MNT 100-200.