Irrawaddy River

Myanmar is an important case study area within the S-MultiStor project. The country is rapid development in irrigation and hydropower infrastructure are important components within the development of the country. However, the development of river and wetland infrastructure could severely impact on the ecosystem services that the poorest sectors of society are reliant on. Infrastructure could lead to major flow alteration, and loss of connectivity, impacting on fisheries and sediment transport, two critical components to maintaining ecosystem services within Myanmar. IHE Delft is working closely with Yangon Technological University (YTU), the main local partner within the project to build awareness and capacity in relation to environmental flows. Environmental flows are not currently considered within infrastructure planning or operations, but are needed to be able to find a balance between the different uses of water, and critical for maintaining ecosystem services.

Along with other project partners such as WWF, The Nature Conservancy, Fauna and Flora International, and International Finance Corporation a Stage 0 workshop has been held where 130 local and international people came together to hold a symposium on environmental flows and a technical workshop (see Workshop Report). The information gathered from this workshop as well as other literature and interviews will result in a ‘State of Knowledge’ report on environmental flows in Myanmar. In addition, YTU has two PhDs now working directly on environmental flows projects with another one already completed.

In 2019, one of the PhDs will be completed, and another workshop will be held. This workshop will focus on the development of a national framework for environmental flows for Myanmar. It is envisioned that this framework will help to guide infrastructure development in relation to including environmental flows in the planning stages, as well as a capacity development component for Myanmar government and NGOs.

Breakout groups at the Stage 0 technological workshop which include a mix of Myanmar nationals (left), NGOs, private sector and international lenders such as ADB and (right) Inspecting infrastructure as part of environmental flow studies being conducted by Yangon Technological University.

Dr John Conallin from IHE Delft and Professor Win Win Zin from Yangon Technological University presenting at the Stage 0 environmental Flows Workshop, hosted by IHE Delft and Yangon Technological University.