Historic day for Myanmar’s water governance with publishing of first reference book on hydrogeology

Hilton Hotel, Naypyidaw, Myanmar – 14th November

On the 14 November, a huge milestone in sustainable water governance in Myanmar was reached with the launching of the Myanmar language edition of the first-ever published reference book on hydrogeology in the country, ‘Hydrogeology of the Dry Zone – Central Myanmar’. The book launch, funded by the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), took place in Myanmar’s capital of Naypyidaw.

The book is a straightforward resource, containing hydrogeological data and maps which provide information such as the location of artesian basins, arsenic and saltwater, and the depth of drilling required in different locations.

Although the Dry Zone is endowed with abundant surface water from the Ayeyarwady River, most flows happen in the wet season. Away from the Ayeyarwady River, the Dry Zone suffers from extreme water shortages. Approximately 75 per cent of the population in the Dry Zone rely on groundwater for drinking and domestic purposes. Villagers without tubewells travel great distances to collect water from shallow dugwells and polluted earth ponds, often leading to water-borne diseases. Accordingly, the provision of reliable, clean water supply to this area has been identified as a developmental priority.

The original English volume was a culmination of 30 years of Dr Len Drury’s work (Aqua Rock Konsultants) with assistance from the Groundwater Division, Irrigation and Water Utilization Management Department (IWUMD) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI). The figures and maps were digitised by ICEM, and the text peer-reviewed by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

Dr Len Drury (right) looking over photos from the original study in Myanmar’s Central Dry Zone in 1980s

Although finished in 1988, the book was not published at the time […]