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Water Management in 
the Dry Zone, 
Irrawaddy Basin, Myanmar 
Robyn Johnston, Paul Pavelic, 
Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu, ...
IWMI Dry Zone Study 2013 
Commissioned by Livelihoods and Food 
Security Trust 
What are the best investments in water to ...
Google Earth; Johnston et al 2012
Socio-economic context 
• Total population of 10.1 million 
• 40% below poverty line 
• 40-50% of the rural population is ...
Water strategies 
Domestic/ village 
Rainwater harvesting 
- village ponds 
Groundwater 
- shallow wells 
- deep tubewells...
Rainfall vs PET 
Pakokku, Central Dry Zone 
McCartney et al 2013
Photos: Google Earth; Robyn Johnston
10 km Water for a food-secure world Google Earth 
www.iwmi.org
Big rivers 
McCartney et al 2013
Flooding 
http://waterdata.iwmi.org/
Reservoirs 
• 7,760 Mm3 in 60 large 
reservoirs 
• 1,020 Mm3 in ~ 2,000 
small reservoirs 
• Village ponds 
• Total runoff...
Groundwater 
• Mix of alluvial and hard rock 
aquifers 
• Widely used for village and 
domestic supplies (shallow dug 
wel...
Irrigation in DZ 
DZ Irrigated areas '000 ha 
Formal schemes 
509 
(MOAI +WRUD) 
Dry season 
2012(IWMI) 
267 
Johnston et ...
Irrigation in DZ 
Graph: McCartney et al 2013 
http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H0 
46133.pdf; Table: Maung Maung 
Naing-f...
Irrigation in Hla Taw (Sagaing): 
Canal from Hla Taw reservoir (A). 
Tertiary canals to fields in poor 
condition (B). 
Mo...
Diesel pump station in Tup Ywa on Irrawaddy river 
Lift 110 feet; nominal command 1,500 acres. 
Actual irrigation 300 acre...
Formal irrigation schemes 
• Underperformance - complex mix of problems 
• Access to water is more limiting than availabil...
Informal irrigation in 
Budalin: groundwater 
pumping to establish 
thanaka trees and 
vegetables he group and 
record the...
Groundwater 
• Critical for domestic supplies 
• Growing use for irrigation 
– individual pumping 
– energy cost constrain...
Village ponds for domestic use, 
livestock, home gardens 
McCartney/IWMI
Photo: Matthew McCartney/IWMI
Rainwater harvesting and storage 
• Simple, proven technologies common in DZ 
– multiple use – domestic and livestock prio...
Water access in Ta Ein Te village: 
village pond (A) dries out completely in the 
dry season (B), WRUD pumps from the rive...
Coordination 
• Department of Irrigation 
• WRUD (Water Resources Utilisation Department) 
• Ministry of Rural Development...
r.johnston@cgiar.org 
Photo: Matthew McCartney/IWMI
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Water Management in the Dry Zone, Irrawaddy Basin, Myanmar

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Presented by Robyn Johnston, Paul Pavelic, Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu, Matthew McCartney at the15th of September at the Rivers Symposium, Australia

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Water Management in the Dry Zone, Irrawaddy Basin, Myanmar

  1. 1. Water Management in the Dry Zone, Irrawaddy Basin, Myanmar Robyn Johnston, Paul Pavelic, Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu, Matthew McCartney Water for a food-secure world International Water Management Institute Photo: Matthew McCartney/IWMI www.iwmi.org
  2. 2. IWMI Dry Zone Study 2013 Commissioned by Livelihoods and Food Security Trust What are the best investments in water to improve food security and livelihoods in the Dry Zone of Myanmar? Water Resources Assessment http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H046133.pdf Village surveys http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H046134.pdf Synthesis and priority investments http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H046135.pdf Photo: Matthew McCartney/IWMI
  3. 3. Google Earth; Johnston et al 2012
  4. 4. Socio-economic context • Total population of 10.1 million • 40% below poverty line • 40-50% of the rural population is landless • 25-35% do not have reliable access to safe domestic water supplies (seasonal shortages) • Availability of water is major constraint to rural livelihoods Photos: Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu/IWMI
  5. 5. Water strategies Domestic/ village Rainwater harvesting - village ponds Groundwater - shallow wells - deep tubewells River pumping Carting / water sellers 25-35% without access to safe water Agriculture Reservoir & canal irrigation River pumping Groundwater - formal schemes - individual pumping Village ponds / tanks Spate irrigation 15-20% of cropland is irrigated
  6. 6. Rainfall vs PET Pakokku, Central Dry Zone McCartney et al 2013
  7. 7. Photos: Google Earth; Robyn Johnston
  8. 8. 10 km Water for a food-secure world Google Earth www.iwmi.org
  9. 9. Big rivers McCartney et al 2013
  10. 10. Flooding http://waterdata.iwmi.org/
  11. 11. Reservoirs • 7,760 Mm3 in 60 large reservoirs • 1,020 Mm3 in ~ 2,000 small reservoirs • Village ponds • Total runoff ~39,000 Mm3 Thaphanseik 3550 Mm3 McCartney et al 2013 http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H046133.pdf
  12. 12. Groundwater • Mix of alluvial and hard rock aquifers • Widely used for village and domestic supplies (shallow dug wells and pumped tube wells) • Annual recharge ~ 4,770 Mm3 (30 – 90 mm) Domestic 646 Industrial 14 Agriculture 113 Total use (2000) Mm3 773 McCartney et al 2013 http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H046133.pdf
  13. 13. Irrigation in DZ DZ Irrigated areas '000 ha Formal schemes 509 (MOAI +WRUD) Dry season 2012(IWMI) 267 Johnston et al 2013 http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H046135.pdf
  14. 14. Irrigation in DZ Graph: McCartney et al 2013 http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H0 46133.pdf; Table: Maung Maung Naing-ftp:// ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/ai4 08e/ai408e01.pdf
  15. 15. Irrigation in Hla Taw (Sagaing): Canal from Hla Taw reservoir (A). Tertiary canals to fields in poor condition (B). Most fields were fallow in March (C) he group and record the A discussion C B Photos: Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu
  16. 16. Diesel pump station in Tup Ywa on Irrawaddy river Lift 110 feet; nominal command 1,500 acres. Actual irrigation 300 acres (energy costs and availability) Photo: Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu
  17. 17. Formal irrigation schemes • Underperformance - complex mix of problems • Access to water is more limiting than availability – volume used in irrigation (~7,540 MCM/yr) is <3% of Irrawaddy flows • Very high real cost in maintenance and energy Myanmar Auditor General’s report in 2012: “67 river water pumping stations have achieved 16.3% of their target, providing water to 48,833 acres out of the 299,895 acres originally planned”
  18. 18. Informal irrigation in Budalin: groundwater pumping to establish thanaka trees and vegetables he group and record the discussion Photos: Robyn Johnston and Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu
  19. 19. Groundwater • Critical for domestic supplies • Growing use for irrigation – individual pumping – energy cost constrains use • Recharge rates indicate a MODERATE resource – enough for additional 110,000 -330,000 ha depending on crop • Sustainable management of shared resource by individual users Photo: Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu/IWMI
  20. 20. Village ponds for domestic use, livestock, home gardens McCartney/IWMI
  21. 21. Photo: Matthew McCartney/IWMI
  22. 22. Rainwater harvesting and storage • Simple, proven technologies common in DZ – multiple use – domestic and livestock priority • Type, design are specific to location – earth dams, sand dams, ring / turkey nest • Preferred intervention in village surveys for all farmer types and landless • Maintenance issues and costs – sedimentation, damage to structures (flooding, cattle)
  23. 23. Water access in Ta Ein Te village: village pond (A) dries out completely in the dry season (B), WRUD pumps from the river to keep water in it for as long as possible. Villagers then use groundwater pumped from a deep tubewell for drinking (>100 ft) (C); and a shallow open well (~20 ft) with poor water quality for washing (D). Pumping to the reservoir improves the quality of the shallow well Photo: Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu/IWMI B A D C Photos: Google Earth; Robyn Johnston (right)
  24. 24. Coordination • Department of Irrigation • WRUD (Water Resources Utilisation Department) • Ministry of Rural Development (domestic water) • MOECAF (environmental issues) • Ministry of Transport – Dept of Meteorology and Hydrology – Directorate of Water Resources and River Improvement ) National Water Resources Management Committee World Bank $30m for Irrawaddy Basin Plan
  25. 25. r.johnston@cgiar.org Photo: Matthew McCartney/IWMI

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