Vice-President U Henry Van Thio discusses future plans to address problems with water resources
Vice-President U Henry Van Thio chaired the 13th meeting of National Water Resources Committee at the Ministry of Transport and Communications yesterday to discuss the future plan for the conservation of water resources.
At the meeting, the Vice-President said that the committee was reformed in 2016 and worked together with the relevant ministries and organizations to lessen monsoon floods and drought in the hot season.
He also called for the ministries and region/state governments to solve the shortage of drinking water and agricultural water in the coming summer, the implementation of remaining decisions in previous meetings and taking seriousness on the future plans.
The Vice-President also urged the respective ministries and region/state governments to continue working closely in water resources management, conservation of watershed areas, illegal excavation of gold, other minerals, precious stones, and production and extraction of gravels and sands.
He continued to say about monsoon plantation, prevention of water pollution, control of debris, wastewater and plastics in the water resources.
The National Water Resources Committee has joined with global and regional organizations, as well as with the partner countries, to develop water resources.
Myanmar hosted the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit in 2017. The conference released a document entitled ‘Yangon Declaration’ which was also discussed for implementation at the 8th World Water Forum that took place in Brazil in March 2018.
The design of boat rowing in Inlay Lake was recognized as the World Water Day logo in 2019.
The national committee is working for the enactments of ‘National Water Law’ and the ‘National Water Resources Committee Law’. The draft version of the first law is being discussed by members of Water Law Task Force and relevant personnel, while the second law is being finalized with the participation of relevant ministries and the recommendations of the Office of Union Attorney-General.
According to the 2019 interim-census, about 81.7 per cent of households in Myanmar have to rely on the basic (lowest) level of household water services. Among them, 41.4 per cent of them acquire safe and clean drinking water which also covers 63.8 per cent of the population in cities and 32.7 per cent in rural areas; Among the families in the city areas, only 3.7 per cent of population are consuming the surface water from the sources of river, creek, reservoirs, lake, canal and irrigation facilities, while 15.8 per cent of rural people are relying on the surface water for drinking.
The Vice-President stressed the needs to collect nationwide data on the norms for water distribution, discard of sewage water, collection of rainwater at homes, factories and buildings, the total volume of surface and underground water and the amount of consumption.
Union Minister for Transport and Communications U Thant Sin Maung, the deputy chairman of the committee, reported on the sandbanks in ThanlwinRiver in Kayah State, floods and bank erosions in Ayeyawady River, Chindwin River and other water outlets mounting silt in Setyoekya creek in Rakhine state, removing slimes from the river mouth in Thandwe, implementation of the Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project, the timely establishment of system information data centre, the electronic navigation charts for 1,000 km of the waterway between Yangon and Mandalay, and availability of clean drinking water.
Acting Director-General U Win Hlaing, the joint-secretary of the committee, from the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems, presented the ongoing works and the future plans of the committee and Dr Khin Ni Ni Thein, the secretary of the consultant team, explained the works of their team.
Union Ministers Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Dr Aung Thu, U Ohn Win and U Win Khaing, Deputy Ministers U Tin Myint, Dr Min Ye Paing Hein, U Soe Aung, Yangon Mayor, ministers of region/state governments, Deputy Mayor of Nay Pyi Taw, permanent secretaries, the directors-general and officials discussed water resource developments, works for clean water and agricultural water, environmental conservation, conservations of watershed areas and natural water sources, environmental conservation, examination of water quality, removing discarded materials from water resources, works for greening environments in dry zones, reduction of water pollution caused by the excavation of natural resources, relations of water resources to energy and electricity sectors, hydropower electricity, strategic plans for the management of strategic and infrastructural projects, relief assistance to the natural disasters, reduction of flood-related damages, conducting research on water resources, cooperation with international organizations, prevention of bank erosion and the future plans.
The Vice-President coordinated the discussions and made a concluding remark, with saying appreciation to the reports of participants at the meeting.—MNA (Translated by Aung Khin)