Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management

Background

On 6 November 2015, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Australian Government to facilitate long-term cooperation between the two countries in the field of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).

The MoU serves to ensure the development of Myanmar’s river basins are managed in accordance with international best-practice. It also recognises the importance of knowledge and information management as critical ingredients for effective IWRM and specifically identifies hydroinformatics and hydro-meteorology as key early enablers of this agenda.

Recognising Australia’s strengths and expertise in these areas, the Government of Myanmar requested support from the Australian Water Partnership to implement river basin planning, and technical and professional capacity building activities as part of the World Bank’s Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management (AIRBM) Project, a five-year US$100 million initiative.

Objectives

The Ayeyarwady is Myanmar’s largest river and most valuable water resource, used for shipping, agriculture, tourism, and to support healthy ecosystems and human life.

Australian Partners are working with Myanmar’s National Water Resources Committee (NWRC), Directorate of Water Resources and Improved River Systems (DWIR), the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), and the Hydro-Informatics Centre (HIC) under the first two components of AIRBM. Through this work, communities in Myanmar will benefit by learning more about the river and how to use and develop it sustainably.

Activities

Initial projects have contributed to a ‘State of the Basin Assessment’ (SOBA) of the Ayeyarwady River Basin, the first step in setting the foundation for integrated, inclusive and sustainable planning.

Ayeyarwady–Murray-Darling Basin Twinning

A twinning relationship between government departments from Myanmar and Australia to improve river basin planning with an emphasis on peer-to-peer mentoring of staff.

Basin Ecosystem Services Evaluation

Valuing ecosystem services in the Ayeyarwady Basin to quantify and understand its natural capital, and improve economic productivity.

Basin Exploratory Scoping Study

A rapid exploration of development and conservation pathways to inform an Ayeyarwady Basin Master Planning process.

C-14 Groundwater Analysis

Radiocarbon dating of major regional groundwater systems as part of the Groundwater Review for the Central Dry Zone, Myanmar.

Groundwater Review of the Central Dry Zone

A major 30-year study providing detailed analysis and mapping of groundwater resources for Myanmar’s Central Dry Zone.

State of the Basin Assessment Review and Synthesis

Laying the foundation for developing an Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Plan to guide policy and planning decision-making.