State of the Basin Assessment Review and Synthesis


The Ayeyarwady State of the Basin Assessment (SOBA) sets the foundation for integrated, inclusive planning and is a significant first step in developing an Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Plan (AIRBMP), supported by a five-year, US$ 100 million World Bank initiative in partnership with DWIR and DMH. Since late 2017, AWP Partners have conducted SOBA projects on surface-water data, groundwater data, and hydraulic and river system modelling.


ALS Hydrographics, Alluvium and Hydronumerics recently completed a hydrological data audit and built capacity for data management. A database of more than 1,000 quality assured hydrological time series datasets for the Ayeyarwady Basin was compiled and installed within the HIC. Datasets required for building a Source river system model of the Ayeyarwady Basin were collected, quality assured, ready for the next phase of the project to build a river model.

The data audit team also surveyed channel cross-sections and trained HIC staff in this at five pilot river gauging sites. Four out of five sites were shown to have erroneous cross-sections, and thus provide inaccurate river flow data. The HIC and DMH have indicated that they plan to broaden their surveys of river channels in Ayeyarwady Basin to ensure that flow data are accurate.

Aqua Rock Konsultants, supported by the International Centre of Environmental Management, investigated the groundwater resources of the Central Dry Zone in Myanmar, a 54,000 km2 expanse of land home to almost a quarter of Myanmar’s population of 54 million people. As a part of this work, an unpublished foundational review of groundwater resources, carried out in the 1980s, was rediscovered and published by AWP in October 2017.

As an element of the projects, the University of New South Wales Water Research Laboratory (WRL) provided training to six DWIR staff in river hydraulics and sediment transport for maintaining the navigability of rivers in the basin, and eWater provided training to 25 HIC officers in river systems modelling using eWater Source software. Source – Australia’s National Hydrological Modelling Platform – is being used for river basin assessment work to underpin integrated water resource plans in the Ayeyarwady River Basin.

The HIC has a strong focus on gender inclusion and has a significant representation of women on its staff. This meant that more than 50% of the HIC staff involved in training programs were women.

The Ayeyarwady State of the Basin Assessment (SOBA) 2017: Synthesis Report was prepared by the Hydro-Informatics Centre (HIC) with support from AWP. The synthesis report is designed to inform readers about the state of the Ayeyarwady Basin, acting either as a reference document or as a source of information to guide policy and planning decision-making.


SOBA 2017 represents the most comprehensive integrated environmental, social and economic baseline for the Ayeyarwady to date, and will inform the development of an Ayeyarwady Basin Master Plan in keeping with international best-practice principles for integrated water resources management (IWRM).

Many AWP Partners contributed to the review and synthesis of this report, which highlights issues, opportunities, risks and uncertainties, and tradeoffs that will need to be addressed in next steps of the Ayeyarwady Basin Master Plan. Furthermore, SOBA 2017 provides an important baseline against which the impacts of future development pathways may be monitored and assessed.

Program Team Leads

Grantley Smith, Principal Engineer 

Phillip Glyde, CEO