Beneficial Irrigation in Chin State, the Land of Taungzalat

By Min La Pyae

IMG 0281 72“No one can survive without going food for seven days and without water for one morning,” as the Myanmar saying goes. Whatever it is, water is of great vitality for the survival of human beings. The mountainous Chin State is the land rich in water resources—water from rivers, creeks, and that falling from mountains.
Located in the north-western part of the country, Chin State has an area of 89000459 acres, that is, 13906.97 square miles. To the east Sagaing Region is situated, with Bangladesh and India to the west. Rakhine State is located to the south. Chin State touches the border line of India in the north. Being a mountainous region, Chin State has mountain ridges standing in the middle of the area from north to south as watersheds, which are slightly to the west off the vertical towards the center.
Mount Victoria/Nat Ma Taung/Khonuamthung is the highest one of 10500 feet in height, in Chin State. Kaladan is the longest river, with Bwenuu river, Kaladan, Lemyo and Manipur being famous river in Chin State. Bwenuu river starts in Falam township, flowing toward south between Haka and Htantalam townships. At Htantalam it turns into India. Kaladan River flows into Rakhine State through Paletwa township. Manipur river starts in India and it goes through Tunzan, Titein and Phalam townships, emptying into Myittha river at Kalay.
Though being abundant in water resources, Chin State is a mountainous region, hence the need for the effective use of these resources for acquisition of drinking and farming water and production of electricity. With a view to effective utilization of these water resources and avoidance of wastage, the department of irrigation and water management under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Breeding and Irrigation is now implementing the tasks of building and renovating dams, embankments, water gates, channels and ditches. Chin State Irrigation and Water Management Department are performing the tasks of making surveys about situations on the ground, building new ones and conservation and renovation works for irrigating farming water in all townships in Chin State, in accord with the regional requirement.
The Office of Chin State Irrigation and Water Management Department started to be opened in Haka on 7th June 1982, initially as the departmental head office, later extended in October 29, 1992 with the Deputy Director taking office. Afterwards, under its control there are opened Haka Office for carrying out irrigation works in Haka and Htantalam, and Falam Office for performing the irrigation works in Falam, Titein and Tungzam townships in 1995-1996. Mindat Office was opened in 2000-2001 for carrying out irrigation works in Mindat, Matupi, Kanpetlet and Paletwa townships.
Laiva Resevoir in Falam in Chin State is located at 6300 ft above the sea level, to be exact, on the Laiva Creek nearby the village of Talangzarr. Being the type of earth embankment, it has 75 feet height and 20 feet in width. It has 1881 acres of full capacity of holding water. With a view to storing more water at the present year, water gate which can be lifted up and down through hydraulic system had been installed. So, this year more water can be stored more than ever. And, it has been producing up to 600 kilo watts annually, that is, equivalent to approximately producing 2.8 million kilo watt hours every year. So, these reservoir and dams are actually beneficial to the region not only for irrigating water to farming lands and producing hydro powers.

Kaladan River in Chin State. Photo: Moe Nwe
Kaladan River in Chin State. Photo: Moe Nwe

The State Government started the project in 1990-1991, finishing it 1994-1995. At present, daily water supply for the 50000 of Falam populace is underway. Moreover, plans for village irrigation which will be beneficial for rural residents are being laid down and implemented. Arrangements are being made to irrigate 11100 acres of farming lands by carrying through pipes, water falling from mountains. There had 99 plans altogether been implemented including Laiva dam project—37 in Haka district, 43 in Falam district and 18 in Mindat district.
With a view to greening Mt Rone in Haka the tasks of re-digging the revolution lake, decorating it with gravels, digging channels, embankments and installing water gates had been completed in 2017. The department of irrigation and water management no 3 construction team is implementing construction of ground reservoir of 500 ft in length and 75 ft in height for the acquisition of drinking and farming water for the local people in the village of Thekee in Htantalam township, expecting to be finished at the end of the FY 2017-2018. Upon completion of it, practices of high land farming will be systematically replaced from the practice of farming land rotation system.
Due to the torrential rains in 2015, many villagers in Chin State suffered a lot. So, the construction of embankment along Kwi and Hsan Nwei Creeks in Khaingkam, Titein township. Chin State government is sharing knowledge to local residents, concerning emergence of terrace farming and yearly planning.
To sum it up, the Department of Irrigation and Water Management, Chin State has been making concerted efforts to implement the acquisition of water for drinking and crop cultivation and for distribution of power supply in the region by performing the tasks of maintenance dams and reservoirs, building new irrigation channels and carrying out regional development, for the benefit of the local residents under the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation and coordination of Chin State Cabinet and Chin State Parliament.

Translated by Khin Maung Oo

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