Basin Exploratory Scoping Study


Drawing on Australia’s experience with river basin planning in the Murray-Darling and other highly utilised river basins within Australia, the Government of Myanmar sought assistance to undertake a rapid analysis of the boundaries, trade-offs and synergies for the development and conservation of the Ayeyarwady Basin.


The Ayeyarwady Basin Exploratory Scoping Study (BESS) will act as a bridge between baseline understanding of the system consolidated through the Ayeyarwady State of the Basin Assessment (SOBA) process, and the future Basin Master Plan, by assessing a range of exploratory development and conservation scenarios for the Basin. The aim is to inform an understanding of basin development pathways that take into account current development, external factors such as climate change, and future development options. To achieve this, the study will also take stock and review all current national, sectoral and regional/state development plans to understand complementarities but also trade-offs and conflicts between sectoral development trajectories. This review of existing development pathways will be used to identify a set of sustainability objectives at the national, regional and sectoral level that will act as a planning level safeguard for development.

The Study also aims to:

  • Improve understanding of how the Ayeyarwady system responds to potential change and how sector-driven activities affect the basin at large through a rapid basin sensitivity analysis.
  • Distil a list of Sustainable Development Objectives (SDOs) for the Ayeyarwady basin that consolidates and extends existing planning priorities of the Government of Myanmar and draws out development and conservation opportunities and risks at the basin-scale.
  • Identify an initial ‘expert-derived’short-list of potential development and conservation scenarios as an input-contribution to the broader Ayeyarwady River basin planning process underway in ARBM Component 1.


Australian Partners ANU, CSIRO, eWater, ICEM and WaterAid were supported to undertake this work, delivering a number of technical outputs, capacity building of DWIR and HIC staff and training seminars for Young Water Professionals. View documentation for more information.


BESS Workshops

Program Lead

Dr Peter Wallbrink, Research Director