Mongolia’s 29 primary watersheds are divided between the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Central Asian Internal Basins. The Arctic Ocean catchments occupy 20.6% of Mongolia’s land area but provide 52.1% of the country’s water resources. The Selenge River comprises the majority of the Arctic Ocean catchment and represents the largest river system in Mongolia. The catchment also includes Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia’s largest lake by volume and the 19th largest lake in the world by volume. The Pacific Ocean catchments occupy 13.5% of Mongolia and provide 15.9% of its water resources. It includes Lake Buir which is thought to provide the most productive fisheries in Mongolia. The Central Asian Internal Basin catchment is the largest of the three regions. It occupies 65% of the country and provides 32% of its water resources. Despite its low annual rainfall and high evaporation rate, this endorheic basin contains several large lakes.
I provide GIS shapefiles for these watersheds below. They have been adapted from the USGS-WWF HydroSHEDS database:
The following are the best references I have found describing Mongolia’s water resources.
- Dolgorsvuren G, Bron J, van der Linden W (2012) Integrated Water Management National Assessment Report Volume I. Ministry of Environment and Green Development: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. 464 pp. (link)
- Dolgorsvuren G, Bron J, van der Linden W (2012) Integrated Water Management National Assessment Report Volume II. Ministry of Environment and Green Development: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. 768 pp. (link)