WEPA Database

Republic of Korea

Last Updated : 07 February 2023.

Alongside exponential growth in GDP, per capita water use in the Republic of Korea has also grown. However, it has seen a marked decrease in recent year. Seasonal variation in water availability remains a challenge for the country’s water management, especially in light of water-related disasters exacerbated by climate change. About two thirds of the annual precipitation falls in the monsoon season between June and September. There are four major river basins in Korea, namely the Han, Geum, Nakdong and Yeongsan-Seomjin.

Institutional Arrangement of water

Responsibilities which were previously spread across different ministries (for example, large rivers/streams were under MLIT, small streams/creeks were under the Ministry of Interior and Safety, lakes were under Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and sewerage was under the Ministry of Environment) were all restructured for management under the Ministry of Environment. The National Institute for Environmental Research (NIER) conducts monitoring of environmental water quality.

The following local environmental agencies conduct monitoring and legal enforcement:

  • Han River Basin Environmental Agency
  • Geum River Basin Environmental Agency
  • Nakdong River Basin Environmental Agency
  • Yeongsan River Basin Environmental Agency
  • Daegu Regional Environmental Agency
  • Wonju Regional Environmental Agency
  • Jeonju Regional Environmental Agency

These regional environmental agencies, together with the Water Environment Research Center, Research Institute of Public Health and Environment, K-Water, and the Korean Rural Community Corporation form a multistakeholder consortium that implements the water quality monitoring framework.”

Technical standards and related information