By Shin Naw
With a growing number of people and changes in lifestyles, the population density has been gradually high in Yangon. When Yangon becomes a densely populated area, it leads to the limited safe drinking water available for the Yangonites to consume, with this matter encouraging the responsible governmental organizations to do a review. Efforts are being put into reforming the water supply system network that was running in the past in an unsystematic manner. Some parts of Yangon have seen a shortage of water for the reason that decaying and expired water pipelines are still operational.
The Water and Sanitation of the Engineering Department under the control of Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) is a main engine handling the water supply system for ensuring that the Yangonites are to consume sufficient safe drinking water. Safe drinking water is supplied to the whole Yangon on a daily basis by using the water resources from Hlawga, Gyobyu, Phugyi, and Ngamoeyeik Reservoirs. By using tube wells, water is supplied to the furthest parts of Yangon city and satellite towns where they have got less water availability. The water supplied from the reservoirs is purified by six water purifying plants to be able to distribute safe water to the Yangonites. The responsible persons are now striving to supply sufficient water to the Yangonites at reasonable price.
A main project is being set up
The population growth rate of Yangon that is the commercial city of Myanmar is fast going. The current water supply of Yangon accounts for a 45% of the total population. For that reason the Yangon City Development Committee in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) set up a main project to develop Yangon water supply system.
Measures to extend water supply
Apart from the rain water storage reservoirs, extensive exploration has been carried out in the search for other water resources. The river water is purified and then supplied to where necessary. With the intention of extending water supply area, Lagunpyin and Kokkowa water supply projects are under implementation. The main aim of the projects is to adopt a water supply system enabling an increased population to use sufficient water with the extension of the urban area.
It was leant that yearly targets have been set up to improve water supply management in the future. According to the performance index of the strategic project planned until 2040, Yangon’s population stood at about 5.9 million and it will stand at about 8.9 million 2040. The daily supply of water to Yangon amounts to 205 million gallons. The YCDC hopes that the daily supply of water will be increased to 285 million gallons in 2025 and 555 million gallons in 2040. The YCDC not only is exploring new water resources but also taking the measures to minimize water wastages and losses. These measures are a top priority that the YCDC is giving. There was a 66 % reduction in water wastage in 2014 and a 46% reduction in 2020. It is expected that there will be a 15 % reduction in 2040.
Water usage without receiving water supply bill includes use with water meter and use without water meter
In an in-depth analysis of the official water usage, a daily official water usage in Yangon accounts for a 50.35 % and a daily water loss for a 49.65 %. Water bill is received from a 50 % water usage with official permission. An official water wastage accounts for a 0.35 %. Water usage receiving water supply bill includes the use with water meter and the use without water meter. The addition of these two is the total of water supply bill. The usage without receiving water bill includes the use with meter and the use without meter.
There are two root causes for loss of water and they are commercial loss and practical loss. The commercial loss includes dishonest use of water and use of imprecise water meter. The practical water loss includes leaking water sending pipes and water distribution pipes, leakage of water between household pipes and water meter and overflow of water from reservoirs. The addition of the usage without receiving water bill and water loss ensures the amount of water that does not receive water bill.
Difficulties in controlling water loss and wastage
Yangon’s water system is based on a direct supply. Outdated pipes have to be relied on supplying water. Outdates pipes, related materials and power availability sometimes cause water supply shortage and less water pressure. There is a complicated system in the places where water is distributed. Not having a zone system causes difficulties in controlling water loss and wastage. With the assistance from international organizations, The YCDC is making efforts to reduce water loss and wastage. At present this measure is designed to reduce water loss and wastage in North Okkalapa, Yankin and Mayangon townships. Leaning appropriate experience from these measures, the YCDC must lay down plans for a reduction in water loss and wastage.
Plan to build reservoirs to supply water within network system
The YCDC will designate 10 water supply zones in the future water supply system in Yangon city. Reservoirs like Kokkine will be built and plans are underway to supply water within a network system.
Measures to get rid of illegal connection of water pipelines
The responsible team of water availability and water supply under the YCDC is in the process of implementing repairs to unsystematic connection of water pipelines and termination of illegal water pipelines connections. Only if the matters have been dealt with in the places of less water pressure, of acquiring hourly water supply and of most water loss and wastage, can drinking water be distributed to all parts of the greater Yangon city in a systematic manner. Translated by Htut Htut (Twantay)