Building groundwater modeling capacity in Mongolia

Open-File Report 2016-1096
Prepared in cooperation with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Pacific Command; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management under the auspices of UNESCO; Government of Mongolia Ministry of Environment, Green Development, and Tourism; and Freshwater Institute, Mongolia
By: , and 



Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia (fig. 1), is dependent on groundwater for its municipal and industrial water supply. The population of Mongolia is about 3 million people, with about one-half the population residing in or near Ulaanbaatar (World Population Review, 2016). Groundwater is drawn from a network of shallow wells in an alluvial aquifer along the Tuul River. Evidence indicates that current water use may not be sustainable from existing water sources, especially when factoring the projected water demand from a rapidly growing urban population (Ministry of Environment and Green Development, 2013). In response, the Government of Mongolia Ministry of Environment, Green Development, and Tourism (MEGDT) and the Freshwater Institute, Mongolia, requested technical assistance on groundwater modeling through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Scientists from the USGS and USACE provided two workshops in 2015 to Mongolian hydrology experts on basic principles of groundwater modeling using the USGS groundwater modeling program MODFLOW-2005 (Harbaugh, 2005). The purpose of the workshops was to bring together representatives from the Government of Mongolia, local universities, technical experts, and other key stakeholders to build in-country capacity in hydrogeology and groundwater modeling.

A preliminary steady-state groundwater-flow model was developed as part of the workshops to demonstrate groundwater modeling techniques to simulate groundwater conditions in alluvial deposits along the Tuul River in the vicinity of Ulaanbaatar. ModelMuse (Winston, 2009) was used as the graphical user interface for MODFLOW for training purposes during the workshops. Basic and advanced groundwater modeling concepts included in the workshops were groundwater principles; estimating hydraulic properties; developing model grids, data sets, and MODFLOW input files; and viewing and evaluating MODFLOW output files. A key to success was developing in-country technical capacity and partnerships with the Mongolian University of Science and Technology; Freshwater Institute, Mongolia, a non-profit organization; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the Government of Mongolia; and the USACE.

Suggested Citation

Valder, J.F., Carter, J.M., Anderson, M.T., Davis, K.W., Haynes M.A., and Dechinlhundev, Dorjsuren, 2016, Building groundwater modeling capacity in Mongolia: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1096, 1 sheet,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Problem and Purpose
  • Collaboration
  • Method Development
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Building groundwater modeling capacity in Mongolia
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2016-1096
DOI 10.3133/ofr20161096
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) South Dakota Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center
Description Sheet: 60.00 x 36.00 inches
Country Mongolia
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details