Deltares: Preliminary Study for Water Management in Myanmar

Deltares has started collecting the knowledge and data required to develop an integrated water management plan for Myanmar.

Water management, which was severely neglected for decades under the military junta, will have to be built up again from scratch and so the government of Myanmar has asked the Netherlands to direct the development of an integrated water management plan.

In response to a request from the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Deltares is now linking up with the Delft University of Technology to establish the basic structure.

Study of requirements for knowledge infrastructure

“As well as collecting the data and knowledge, Deltares is also looking at the best way to design the knowledge infrastructure for water management. For example, we will be looking at the practicality of establishing a research institute in Myanmar itself. Deltares is also laying out a ground plan for the computer models (SOBEK, Delft3D, Ribasim) required as support for decisions relating to water management,” they stated.

The models will make it possible to make the calculations needed to study measures and scenarios for the management of coastal zones and rivers.

Economic growth intensifies pressure on water system

Tjitte Nauta, the Deltares Regional Manager for South and East Asia and the team manager for the preliminary study, was on six missions to Myanmar over the past year. He said that he believes an integrated approach is vitally necessary: ‘Water management and the associated infrastructure are very dated, and the problems are large and complex in areas as wide-ranging as flood protection, water quality and water supplies.

The country is frequently hit by tropical cyclones and floods during the monsoon season, and numbers of victims are high. In the central part of the country, on the other hand, there is extremely little rain and things are very dry.

The problems with water quality are getting more acute because of increasing activity in sectors such as mining, industry and agriculture, in conjunction with urbanisation and the discharge of untreated domestic water. Drinking water supplies are also being threatened by arsenic and salinisation in the delta.’

European tender

The preliminary study led by Deltares will be completed in November of this year. Agentschap NL recently issued a European call for tender for the development of the integrated water management plan. The Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment has asked Deltares to engage in tender-related activities following on from the preliminary study.

Press Release, September 25, 2013

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