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Republic of Korea

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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
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Baseline Water Stress:
Water Quality Stress:
Sanitation Access Stress:
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City & Country

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $3,062,080,101.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $247,238,843.00 - [8%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $235,398,973.00 - [8%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $1,025,520,356.00 - [33%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $112,103,387.00 - [4%]
  • Water Scarcity: $931,471,857.00 - [30%]
  • Water Management: $510,346,683.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

Water Demand and Competition among Users
Water Pricing

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Most of the rivers flow west and south through the plains. There are five main drainage systems, which altogether cover two-thirds of the territory: -The Han River basin in the northwest, with an average runoff estimated at 19.4km³/year and a drainage area of 26,018km²; -The Kuem River basin in the west, with an average runoff estimated at 6.2km³/year and a drainage area of 9,810km²; -The Nag Dong River basin in the south, with an average runoff estimated at 13.9km³/year and a drainage area of 23,817km²; -The Seom Jin River basin in the south, with an average runoff estimated at 3.8km³/year and a drainage area of 4,897km²; -The Young San River basin in the south, with an average runoff estimated at 2.6km³/year and a drainage area of 3,371km². The total annual volume of surface runoff produced internally is estimated at 62.25km³, while internal groundwater resources amount to approximately 13.3km³. About 10.7km³ of groundwater resources constitute the base flow of the rivers. Some transboundary rivers cross the border with DPR Korea. By taking into account the annual discharge of the Han River in DPR Korea (19.4km³/year with a catchment basin four times that of the basin flow into the Republic of Korea), the inflow to the Republic of Korea from DPR Korea is estimated at 4.85km³/year. The total average surface water discharge in the Republic of Korea is therefore estimated at 67.1km³/year. Due to the intensive nature of the rainfall and the steeper natural channel slopes, about 37 per cent of the annual water resources are flood runoffs, concentrated in summer. Out of the 64.5km³ of river runoff, 47km³ run off in flooding time. The total renewable water resources are estimated at 69.7km³/year. During the last 50 years, a considerable effort has been made to regulate the course of rivers. Multipurpose river basin schemes have been developed for flood control, irrigation, community water supply and hydropower production. In 1997, there were 765 dams of over 15m in height. There are more than 18,000 small irrigation reservoirs. Man-made lakes account for 93 per cent of all lakes in the Republic of Korea. The water storage for dams and reservoirs totals 16.2km³.

1.1.2.WATER USE Major environmental problems are air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; and drift net fishing. Managing clean water in rivers and lakes has been a major environmental policy target in Korea. As a result, the Korean government has continuously increased investment in sewage treatment facilities, drainage systems and industrial waste water treatment facilities. Recently, the Korean government introduced comprehensive water management measures for the four major river streams. ‘The act relating to water resources in Han River and community support’ and the special act on Nakdong Rivers watershed management’ were enacted in 1999. Similar acts regulating the Geum River and Yeongsan River watersheds were enacted in 2000. Korea enforces stringent drinking water quality standards. As a result, the proportion of monitoring sites which exceeded drinking water standards more than once per year is 0.6 per cent at filtration plants, 0.4 per cent at taps, and 14.7 per cent at mineral spring spots.

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH The main institutions involved in irrigation and drainage include the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Federation of Farmland Improvement Association (FFIA), and the Water Users Associations (WUAs). The MAFF, through the Rural Development Bureau (RDB), is responsible for policy, planning and financing of all rural infrastructure projects, and for the supervision of local government institutions, the RDC, the FFIA, the FLIAs and the WUAs. The RDC is a semi-autonomous agency which carries out the planning, study, design, and supervision of rural infrastructure projects in the country and overseas; the execution of largescale agricultural development projects; the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the important facilities of large-scale agricultural development projects; and the provision of O&M training courses for FLIA staff as well as engineering and administrative training courses for its own staff. The FFIA is a public corporation which mainly carries out the planning, design, and supervision of farmland improvement projects for farmland consolidation as well as providing guidance on the operational improvement of FLIAs. There are 105 FLIAs in the country which are responsible for the O&M of public irrigation systems. WUAs are organized by the farmers for the O&M of small irrigation systems which are not included in FLIA systems. The small systems are constructed and/or rehabilitated by the government through the cities or the counties before being transferred to WUAs.

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Organizations in Republic of Korea

The Asian Development Bank aims for an Asia and Pacific free from poverty. Approximately 1.7 billion people in the region are poor and unable to access essential goods, services, assets and opportunities to which every human is entitled. Since its … Learn More

BLH Aqua Technology is a South Korea based company focused on developing water efficiency enhancement technologies. Our first product, Aqutonix, is an agriculture technology product that increases the absorption of water in plants with no added chemicals in order to … Learn More

Organizational Overview GGGI is a new kind of international organization — interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder and driven by the needs of emerging and developing countries. It has been established by several forward-thinking governments to maximize the opportunity for “bottom up” (i.e., country- … Learn More

Overview There is a shrinking window of opportunity to address the climate crisis. Average global temperature is currently estimated to be 1.1°C above pre-industrial times. Based on existing trends, the world could cross the 1.5°C threshold within the next two … Learn More

For as long as nearly 70 years since its founding in 1949, Kurita Water Industries has been consistently operating in two areas of "water and the environment." To cater to diverse customer needs, the Kurita Group provides comprehensive solutions by … Learn More

Microsoft's mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Learn More

Support and develop Pakistan as a central hub for developing a sustainable supply chain ecosystem with Halal standards. Making Pakistan a well-known Halal international hub that aligning United Nation’s 17 sustainable goals and promotes WAQF from Halal culture to contribute … Learn More

The Company shall achieve its ultimate goal of sustained progress by maintaining stability and growth. Furthermore, it shall create value for its customers, people and shareholders, thereby contributing to social and economic development and human well-being. Learn More

Our Vision is widespread implementation of sustainable chemistry, driving innovations and best practices in textile, apparel and footwear industries to protect consumers, workers and the environment. Our Mission is to enable brands and retailers in the textile, apparel, and footwear … Learn More

Projects in Republic of Korea

OBJECTIVES Farmers are willing to plant a great diversity of fruit trees in combination with their cash crops: apricot, blueberries, apples, pears, grapes... to diversify their production and incomes. By promoting local and sustainable food, the Chungju project supports local … Learn More

Project WET is currently active in more than 75 countries around the world through a network of partner organizations that range from small NGOs to major international corporations and organizations. We only go where we’re invited! We work with our … Learn More

On May 27, 2020, Conway installed a water purifier in the community hall in Geumbuk-ro, Hongseong-gun, South Chungcheong Province, an area without access to fresh water. Since 2015, Conway has undertaken the �Water Sharing� project in partnership with the Ministry … Learn More

It has also become apparent that in the Ceres region, coupled with recurrent drought, issues of groundwater are increasingly becoming a problem for the farmers. Groundwater is usually used for emergency water but in Ceres particularly, farmers are very dependent … Learn More

For example, in our production facility in Ghent, Belgium, our evaporative cooling towers were replaced by dry cooling towers, an initiative which will save 10,670m_ of water annually. In Sweden, we successfully installed low-consuming rinse nozzles for both our can … Learn More

The Woolworths Water Fund was established two years ago in response to the South African governmentÕs declaration that the drought in South Africa is a national disaster. In partnership with My School My Village MyPlanet, it aims to raise much-needed … Learn More

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