Support for integrated river basin management, hydro-informatics and hydro-meteorology in the Ayeyarwady River Basin,  MYANMAR

The Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBMP)

The Government of Myanmar has received US$100 million in credit from the World Bank for the Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBMP). The project is being implemented by Myanmar’s National Water Resources Commission (NWRC).

The objective of the project is to help Myanmar to develop the institutions and tools needed to enable informed decision making in the management of Myanmar’s national water resources, and to implement integrated water resource management (IWRM) in the Ayeyarwady River Basin (ARB).

Under the AIRBMP, a State of the Basin Assessment (SOBA) will be undertaken. The SOBA process is an integrated environmental, social and economic baseline assessment of the basin. A State of the Basin Assessment Report (the SOBA Report) will then be used to inform planners, engineers and scientists, in their estimates of how key resources and processes in the ARB will respond to change. The AIRBMP Project Management Unit (AIRBMP PMU) has issued six packages of work to develop the SOBA Report. These packages of work are being undertaken in collaboration with various organisations in Myanmar.

These packages of work are:

• SOBA-1: Surface water resources assessment and model development;
• SOBA-2: Groundwater and data management;
• SOBA-3: Sediments and geomorphology;
• SOBA-4: Biodiversity and fisheries;
• SOBA-5: Socioeconomics, including demographics, sectoral development and macroeconomics; and
• SOBA-6: Participatory 3D Mapping (P3DM) and local consultations

A more detailed discussion of each of these packages of work in the attachment ‘Myanmar Partner Engagement Opportunities: Support for Integrated River Basin Management, Hydro-informatics and Hydro-meteorology in the Ayeyarwady River Basin’ in the Supplementary Materials section (pages 15 to 20). This attachment is available at supporting documents below.

Supplementary work also underway in the ARB includes an Integrated Ayeyarwady Delta Strategy (IADS) project, also being implemented by the NWRC in partnership with the Government of the Netherlands, and the development of the Myanmar Water Information System for Data Management (WISDM). This system is under development by the Myanmar Hydro-informatics Center and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

Role of the Australian Water Partnership in the AIRBMP and SOBA Report

In November 2015, the Australian Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The purpose of the MoU is to facilitate long term cooperation between Myanmar and Australia in the field of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), to ensure that future development of Myanmar’s river basins and their management, are undertaken to standards of international best practice for IWRM.

Under this MoU, the Australian Government, through the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), is providing $3.7 million AUD, to support the SOBA process, through engagement of AWP partners to undertake a series of Activities as summarised in Table 1 below. Support from the AWP also includes institutional ‘twinning’ arrangements between the Ayeyarwady Basin and the Murray Darling Basin; and between the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). Together with the Dutch, the Government of Australia is also providing support to a Young Water Professionals program, focused on capacity development of young people in the Myanmar water resources sector.

Further information about the context and each AWP-supported Activity are presented in the attachment ‘Myanmar Partner Engagement Opportunities: Support for Integrated River Basin Management, Hydro-informatics and Hydro-meteorology in the Ayeyarwady River Basin’, available at supporting documents below.

Table1: Overview of packages of work supported by the AWP as part of the AIRBMP

Activity Name Government of Myanmar Partner
Activity 1  —– Hydrological data audit and capacity building in data management —– HIC,  DMH
Activity 2 Surface water resource baseline assessment, including SOURCE model development HIC, DWIR
Activity 3 Ayeyarwady basin water pollution  survey HIC
Activity 4 Ayeyarwady basin ecosystem services evaluation HIC
Activity 5 Ayeyarwady basin development scoping study HIC

Supporting Documents:


Activity Name —– Activity Plan (PDF) —– Submit Application
Hydrological data audit and capacity building in data management Activity Plan for Activity 1 – Hydrological data audit and capacity building in data management Closed
Surface water resource baseline assessment, including SOURCE model development Activity Plan for Activity 2 – Surface water resources baseline assessment Closed
Ayeyarwady basin water pollution  survey Activity Plan for Activity 3  –  Ayeyarwady basin water pollution survey Closed
Ayeyarwady basin ecosystem services economic valuation Activity Plan for Activity 4 – Basin Ecosystem Services Economic Valuation Closed


Are multi-partner submissions allowed for this program of work?

Yes – multi-partner submissions are highly encouraged by the AWP to maximise the expertise and experience in delivering activities. It is expected that a primary (lead) organisation would be identified in the submission and the other partners would be supporting partners. In assessing submissions, a weighting will be applied to submissions that are collaborative.

Can AWP partners collaborate with non-AWP Australian partners?

No – however, in saying this, partners may “encourage” other Australian organisations to become partners prior to submitting a partner submission for an activity.

How will AWP partners apply?

Invitations to submit and partner submissions will be made through a web form where partners can save progress in their submission as they need to. This will be available through a unique partner link for each activity as they become available.

How should partners prepare submissions?

Following partner feedback, the AWP is now seeking more traditional tendering style partner submissions that outline the approach, timeline, and budget required to demonstrate their capability and capacity to deliver the outputs within the specified timeframes as identified in each activity plan (terms of reference).

What should be included to be assessed?

As per a typical tendering process, a number of eligibility and weighted assessment criteria will be identified that will be used by the AWP Expert Review Panel to assess all submissions. These will be provided in the invitation to submit online form. As indicated above, a weighting will be given to partners that collaborate with other AWP partners. Further, submissions that demonstrate their commitment to gender and youth participation in their partner team will be considered favourably.

Who will undertake the assessment of submissions?

The independent AWP Expert Review Panel will undertake the assessments of all partner submissions. Following their assessment, they provide a recommendation to AWP Management for approval. AWP will confirm this appointment with Government of Myanmar prior to engagement of the successful proponent/s.

When will the first activities be open for submission?

We expect to have the first two activities open for submission mid-next week (21-22 Sep 2016).

If there are no downstream impacts, does the AWP have a position on whether a single partner could have a coordinating role across all 5 activities, combined with varying (either leading/supporting) contributions from a range of other partners in each of the specific activity areas?

There is already coordination being provided by the World Bank Project Management Unit, under Dr. Khin Ni Ni Thein from the National Water Resources Committee. AWP are supporting a State of the Basin Assessment Coordinator role in Myanmar. No further coordination is needed.

Are there any downstream implications of participating in this call? How will the risks be managed?

Partners need to form their own judgement about downstream risks as per World Bank procurement rules.

Are there weighting criteria for the evaluation of submissions?

The weighted criteria for assessment of submission can be found in the Supporting Documents section on the Program Overview Page.  The Invitation for Partner Submission also contains the Weighted Critieria is located on page 3 of the submission form. To progress to this page Partner will need to submit their Lead Partner Details. You can change these details at any time by clicking “back”. You may aslo save your work at any time through-out your Partner Submission.

Are Allowances, Advisor Support Costs and Management fees included in the $250K budget (Upper budget for Activity 1)?

Yes. The $250K is also inclusive of airfares, accommodation, local travel in Myanmar, and per diem, as per the TOR.

What language is the meta-data in?

The meta-data for the data sets identified in the Terms of Reference are expected to be a mix of English and Myanmar languages.

Is it possible to have analogue hydrometric charts processed in Australia? Would the respective authorities be willing to have them shipped to Australia or elsewhere for processing? If not would we have to train people in Myanmar to digitise their own charts?

Analogue hydrometric charts cannot be shipped to Australia for processing. As a capacity building initiative, the hydrometric charts will be digitised in-country with active engagement and training of Myanmar colleagues from the Hydro-informatics Centre and Department of Meteorology and Hydrology. While the HIC and DMH staff can participate as a capacity building initiative, the Australian partner is  responsible for the delivery of all digitized data, and should design their approach accordingly.

Task 1 asks for charts to be digitised: There could be none, or there could be hundreds of years’ worth of data to digitise. We could digitise their charts at the DFAT rate for A1 entry classified staff ($308/day). However it is not really possible to quantify this before we know what is ahead of us. How do you suggest we approach this?

Partners will need to make educated assumptions regarding the quantity of data to be digitised. The exact amount will not be known until the data audit exercise is underway.

What language is the training to be conducted in?

Training will be conducted in English language.

What financial allowances are made for language translation of meta data?

Products and outputs from Activity 1, including the Hydrological data base (Output 3) will be produced in English language. However, some provision for language translation should be included to ensure any meta-data in Myanmar language can be converted to English language and integrated into Output 3.

Can you define the expected work location I.E. 50% of the implemented period will be Myanmar - based, in partners’ offices in Yangon?

The office accomodation arrangements for AWP partners in Myanmar are not yet  finalised, but it is expected that they will be housed in  a government building in Yangon.

In the T&Cs clause 4.3. it says the AWP will reimburse the Partner for reasonable out of pocket expenses…incurred in providing the services…. Can you give some examples of what this might include – I presume this does not include airfares and accommodation.

Under Clause 4.3, where a cost arises that is not foreseeable, AWP will reimburse the Partner for reasonable expenses, as long as prior approval is received from AWP, e.g. a change of flight caused by the airline, an unscheduled meeting arises.

Have all AWP Partners received this invitation for submissions (to the Myanmar Program)?

Yes, all registered AWP Partners have been invited to send submissions for these packages of work in Myanmar.

Is it appropriate for Partners to link with others who have been invited to strengthen the proposal?

Yes, collaboration among partners is strongly encouraged.

Our submission will include two other partners, and we plan to clearly define their roles and cap costs for those specific activities. Would the AWP enter into separate agreements with these partners? This will greatly simplify compliance with Public Service procurement guidelines.

​At this stage this hasn’t been decided and will be considered as part of the assessment process by the ERP. We suggest stating your preferred contracting approach in the submission.

Integration of modelling runs from the Ayeyarwady Basin Source model being developed would benefit the analysis. Should the team include a Source modelling expert who will have access to the model to run scenarios, or will the team be able to request model scenario runs to be undertaken by Activity 2 or 5?

The successful partner will have access to all data and tools developed through all of the SOBA packages under implementation. It is also expected that the partner will work closely with the other packages and activities, and the HIC team (including the SOBA Coordinator) will support to ensure this coordination.

Whilst access to tools/data/outputs will be made available, it is expected that the partner will include a stand-alone team sufficient for the delivery of the outputs stipulated in the Activity Plan, as well as allocation of resources to ensure sufficient field time for team members to engage and work closely with HIC and other packages in country – as needed.

Please note, as described in the workplan, Activity 4 is part of the SOBA baseline activities so the focus of the work should be in characterisation and valuation of ecosystem services under baseline conditions (i.e. existing and past conditions). The Activity 4 team is not expected to assess changes in economic value of ecosystem services associated with future exploratory scenario model runs that will be developed under Activity 5.

The budget for this Activity has previously been provided as $100-150k. Can you confirm that this is still the expected budget?

After an assessment of the activity plan by the Expert Review Panel, it was decided that the scope of this activity would be reduced. The previous budget guidelines were removed so as to not confuse partners.

As this is an open competitive engagement process, we encourage partners to provide a detailed budget with assumptions and budget scenarios, to assist AWP management and the ERP to determine value for money.

Webcast Presentation (Video 60mins)

 Webcast Slides (PDF 1.9mb)

A webcast was conducted to provide partners with the background context to the work program, and to facilitate conversation around the expectations for implementation.  Activity-specific work plans will be released according to the program timeline for consideration and submission by interested partners. It is expected that the first packages will be announced on Wednesday 21 September.

Webcast Q&A

Is there a process for the two training relationships mentioned? Has the process evolved or will we be advised on how to proceed down the track in that space?

There is already a conversation with BoM at a high level and we will be following that up and that is a separate government to government relationship and we will get back to you once we have more details in the coming weeks.

Activity 1 and 2 are pretty linked in terms of Activity 1 getting the data ready for Activity 2. Do you see those two activities going out to different partners, or is there a possibility that they will be selected for the same partners?

There is a dependency but not a formal link between them – that’s why we are doing the data study first because it’s very much about preparing the data for other pieces of work. There are no rules about who does and doesn’t get it other than to say clearly as a multi-lateral partnership, one of the strategic objectives for the AWP is to get the broadest range of engagement possible from amongst our panel, and that advice from our Expert Review Panel will be taken into consideration. But that doesn’t mean that any one partner could not be involved in more than one successful outcome. It is important to note that in our assessment criteria, one of the strategic characteristics and expectations of DFAT is that the widest possible range of skilled partners from the Australian public and private water sector will be involved in the work we do.

Groundwater resources in the Ayeyarwady basin are greater than surface water resources. Could you please elaborate on what plans are envisioned for greater focus on groundwater resource use and opportunities for conjunctive management of surface and groundwater resources.

There is a significant groundwater component in the Ayeyarwady Basin program. Largely we won’t be significantly involved with that but there is a very significant groundwater component in the World Bank technical capability and SOBA process.

What is the logistical support from the Government of Myanmar for this work? E.g. Networks, translations, etc.

The Hydroinformatics Centre – which is run by the government of Myanmar significantly with World Bank funding – has a number of staff involved including a team of 12 or more young water professionals, all of them with varying levels of technical capability on water. So, there will be significant logistic and consultation support. The Hydroinformatics Centre has a team there consisting of a Consultations/Communications Coordinator, Project Officers, Technical Specialists, an Environmental Scientist, a Water Engineer and a GIS specialist. Tarek will have a continued coordination role to ensure what’s needed for the Australian team is available, as well there being a Myanmar coordinator working across the whole program. An important point to note is that these are not client consulting relationships. It is a collaborative partnership between Australia, the Government of Myanmar, and the World Bank. At times you’ll be under work pressures like a consultant but we want to be clear that the culture that everyone is expecting here is that of collaboration both within Australia and across the Pacific into Myanmar, with a whole range of counterparts across at least two major government departments, and the World Bank in-country.

What is the current state of data in Myanmar and how easy is it going to be to access data? For many Asian countries accessing data is very difficult – it requires a lot of time and relationship building.

It’s a complex situation up there. On one hand, the data is not really consolidated at the moment so it has to be sourced and collected from all the various government agencies. That needs to be done and does take time. What we have started already in August is identified a preliminary list of key data that is needed and this has already been communicated with the Hydroinformatics Centre. They are organising the letters and permissions for government-to-government transfer of this data to the Hydroinformatics Centre. So, if we’re looking at the surface water resource assessment side of things, there was a delegation from MDBA who came to Yangon in late August. Based on their discussions with various government agencies, they have come up with this preliminary list of the data that would be needed for the source modelling and for the surface water resource assessment. So, we’ve started that process and it will need refinement over time, but we are not waiting for this work to be mobilised first. Like any assessment, data is going to be critical and probably one of the biggest risks for the overall program from the Government of Myanmar’s point of view is clearly the availability of quality data. Everyone is aware there are risks in terms of on time delivery, and we’ll monitor that as we go through the process.

Grantley made a point that the international partners are not included in the collaborative work. From experience in the work that we are doing in India, and certainly some South-Asian countries, we think access to some of the forecast data from the European centres, and the like, I think is almost mandatory. Whilst a partnership is not welcomed there, but at least some sort of engagement and input in terms of expert advice and access to international weather and climate models for use in hydrology and those applications for water resource management, some of that is inescapable. Do you have any thoughts on that please?

Clearly there are international partners involved and they are the number that we have identified in Myanmar. You’re making a good point, particularly for the meteorological and climatic data, so whilst AWP is not formally set up to fund third parties – we have a set of partnership rules that are about Australian engagement – if you were to make a bid or submission to AWP, you should identify a need for data from another source in your submission, and if that has a cost or some sort of collaborative transaction to it you would also identify it in your submission and that will enforce us to think more about it. As a general rule, we are not looking for a new set of international collaborators.


Please send your questions or comments to:

Andrea Milutinovic
Senior Program Officer
T: +62 2 62068797