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Green infrastructure: Solutions Chindwin


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In this presentation, the Stockholm Environment Institute presents are green infrastructure solutions to aid the resilience and sustainability of development of the Chindwin River Basin in Myanmar.

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Green infrastructure: Solutions Chindwin

  1. 1. Green Infrastructure: Complementary solutions to resilience and sustainability of development of the Chindwin River Basin in Myanmar (?) Dr. Chayanis Krittasudthacheewa Stockholm Environment Institute Special Session 7: Green infrastructure: nature based solutions to resilience and sustainability in the development Mekong countries, WLE Mekong Forum 2015, Phnom Penh
  2. 2. CONTENT 1. Why Chindwin River Basin? 2. Priority green infrastructure measures may be promoted to complement with other measures 3. What are the challenges to be overcome? Sandbags and pumping machines are used to protect Monywa from flood, Sep 2015 Decreasing water depth made the navigation difficult in Uru river, Chindwin River Basin, May 2015
  3. 3. 1. Why Chindwin River Basin? • Chindwin is a largest tributary of Myanmar’s chief river the Ayeyarwady (catchment area: 114,000 km2, length: 900 km). • Expanding multiple uses of water resources from different sectors (e.g. navigation, mining, agriculture, hydropower, urban) • Facing several water related challenges: climate variability, floods, decreasing dry season water level, sedimentation, bank erosion, water quality degradation • Concepts of living with the nature and using local materials are recognized and practiced by local government and communities
  4. 4. High variability in climate requires the solutions that are robust to both too much or too little water. 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Monthly Rainfall (mm) River Flow (cubic meters/s) Monthly rainfall and streamflow in Chindwin River Basin Dry months Wet months Dry months - Flood in rainy season vs. drought in dry season - Dry zone area in the lower (southern) part of the basin - Economic loss from 2015 flood is highest in Chindwin basin, Myanmar
  5. 5. Living with flood: current adaptation in Chindwin Basin 1. How to build the houses? 2. Where to build the houses? But how high is enough in each area? Suspended houses to prevent flood damage Homalin, September 2015: just houses on the river levees remained above water
  6. 6. Living with flood: different design of floating houses in Chindwin Basin
  7. 7. 27.9 31.5 35.3 38.3 37.3 30.9 34.4 33.6 33.3 32.1 29.8 27.6 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC Average daily maximum temperature – Monywa In the dry zone of Chindwin Basin, the rural villages often have more tree cover than built area, in order to provide thermal comfort for high maximum daily temperatures. Living in the dry zone: Tree shade in villages in Chindwin Basin
  8. 8. Dec 1973 Bluff on the border of the river valley Feb 1989 Erosion areas from 1973 to 1989 Jan 2001 1973 1989 Deposited areas Eroded areas 2014 Erosion (2001 to 2014) Erosion (2001 to 2014) Monywa Pakokku Myingyan Dynamic change in river geomorphology in Chindwin requires the solutions that are robust in short and long terms
  9. 9. Living with dancing Chindwin River: Relocation River Bank Erosion Forces Hundreds of Families to Relocate – “The Irrawaddy” – 3 Sep 2013 Two villages in Kachin to relocate due to soil erosion – “Eleven” 19 Jul 2014 Bank erosion along Chindwin River (Chayanis, April 2014) Ayeyarwady Bank Erosion. Photo: Sei Tun / UNESCAP (2013) Irrawaddy-river-erosion1.jpg • Entire villages are being destroyed by river bank erosion • Families lose their lands and houses • Bank erosion brings risk to infrastructure – bridges and water pumping stations
  10. 10. Living with dancing Chindwin River: Protecting the river bank by sand bags and bamboo breakwater Sandbags (local material) and cement plates to protect bridge from bank erosion – Homalin Township Villagers build bamboo breakwaters to protect banks – Homalin Township But these do not last for many years
  11. 11. 2. Priority green infrastructure measures may be promoted to complement with other measures River Bank Erosion: 1. A geomorphological study and remote sensing zoning of bank erosion risk to advise on: • Planning for land use to avoid the areas with a higher risk • Identifying the priority areas that need to be protected 2. Seeking green infrastructure measures to complement with other options such as: • Conserving or regenerating forests on river banks • Using agroforestry riparian buffers • Bank slope stabilization by various methods 3. Manage human activities that might cause bank erosion Riverbank mining in Uru River, Chindwin Basin Deforestation for banana. Location: Chindwin river, Kaw Yar village, Homalin Township
  12. 12. Zoning of Bank Erosion Areas • Lower risk for bank erosion to build the house or other infrastructures (bridges, pumping, etc.) in the green areas that have been stable over the decades • In the red areas of the map, the river keeps “dancing” (changing its course) along the years • If we build a village or a infrastructure in that zone, the river may come back again and destroy it
  13. 13. Potential green Infrastructure measures: land use management Conserving or reforesting the forest along the riverside Chesapeak Bay – US. Source: Department of Natural Resources of Maryland Using agroforestry riparian buffers Zone 1 – plants with deep roots to stabilize river bank Zone 2 – forestry and fruit trees Zone 3 – native grasses and forbs Schultz et al. (2013) Riparian and Upland Forest Buffers. In: Training Manual for Applied Agroforestry Practices—2013 Edition Chapter 5 (2013): 67 Available at:
  14. 14. Potential green infrastructure measures: Bank slope stabilization Schultz, R.C., T.M. Isenhart, J.P Colletti, W.W. Simpkins, R.P. Udawatta, and P.L. Schultz. 2009. Riparian and Upland Buffer Practices. Chapter 8 In: H.E. Garrett, (Ed.) North American Agroforestry: An integrated Science and Practice, 2nd Ed. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI. Source: db1043249 Brush mattress for bank slope stabilizationA combination of live and dead materials used in the stream bank bioengineering practice
  15. 15. 3. What are the challenges to be overcome? 1. Need a proper study and design of green infrastructure for Chindwin – Limited available and accessible ground truth data related to soil type, land use, changes in river course, etc. ( long-term and collaborative effort of concerned agencies) 2. Need to improve current practice on living with the nature and using local materials to make it more durable and effective – Some gaps in knowledge and experience in various green infrastructure measures ( capacity building for home grown leaders) 3. Green infrastructure often provides more resilient solutions than “grey” infrastructure – but it may take longer time to see the results as compared to “grey” infrastructure ( integrated solutions) 4. Green infrastructure often requires a management of big landscape and collaboration with many people from different sectors – No agency that was officially established to help coordinate with multi-stakeholders from different sectors and levels yet. (Chindwin RBO)