Hungarians in the global water industry

The design and implementation of complex water engineering solutions for developing countries has always been and still is a distinguished area of Hungary’s international cooperation. Hungary and Hungarian experts have several success stories from over the years in providing solutions in- amongst others - water management, well drilling and in irrigation.

Master plans for water management

Between 1975 and 1990 experts of the former Water Resources Management Center (VIKOZ, later VGI) together with Mongolian partners prepared the Water Management Master Plan of Mongolia and the regional master plans for the following basins: Mongolian Great Lakes, River Khovd, River Dzabhan, River Kherlen (Kerulen), Ongijn, Taats and Baidrag rivers. The Mongolian Parliament appraised this activity as “Project of the Century” even many years after the Hungarian experts finished their projects. In connection with this excellent evaluation the Hungarian-Mongolian Water Management Cooperation Agreement was renewed in 2008.

Hungarian experts executed master plans in Tanzania, Nigeria and Morocco, where they also managed reservoir construction. Experts have similarly served as high level advisors in Algeria and Kuwait. Hungarian specialists worked in African and Asian countries as FAO, WMO and WHO experts.

Well drilling

Hungarian hydrologists and engineers had by 1980, assisted Mongolia in solving water problems on the steppe. Hungarian engineers and hydrologists trained and worked closely with Mongolian young professionals. By 1970, 225 new wells had been drilled to a depth of 100-200 metres. In connection with water prospecting, they executed geophysical exploration on 21,000 km2. Hungarian competitive technology and know-how in well drilling helped VIKUV to achieve business success in the last decades in the African (Ethiopia) and the Central-Eastern European market. 

One of the prominent personalities of well drilling was Vilmos Zsigmondy (1821-1888) who in the second half of the 19th century drilled a well in Budapest (City Park) that was the second largest well in Europe that time. The well, which was 970 meters deep and had a capacity of 2,200 litres per hour at 74 C°, was considered something of a sensation.


In the 1970s Hungarian experts provided help in Vietnam and in Mongolia, installing MA-200 type irrigation equipment (in Mongolia all over the country about 150 pumping plants, in Vietnam in the Ba Vi irrigation system). They provided training for the local population and service for maintaining the installed irrigation capacities.

In Morocco in the frame of international, technical and scientific cooperation, Hungarian experts were involved in the construction of the irrigation systems (River Moulouya and Rabat Region).  From the 1980s Hungarian consultants (VIZITERV and MELYEPTERV) took part in different irrigation projects in Algeria and Tunesia (irrigation of palm groves), in Yemen (Tihama and Taiz projects), in Sudan (Djebel Marra Project), in Iran (Gorgan Valley).

Emil Mosonyi (1910-2009) was one of the biggest Hungarian experts in this field. His name, as an engineer of hydraulics, is connected to dams and hydro power plants around the world. He was honorary professor at a number of universities and a member of various science academies. The University of Auckland in New Zealand established the Mosonyi prize to honour his work in the field of sustainable hydro power development.

Source: Hungarian Investment and Trade Angency, (HITA), “The Hungarian Water and Sanitation Industry in the 21st century”, 2013.

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