Despite its abundance of water, Myanmar faces difficulties managing the precious resource in both rural settings and big cities, Vice President U Nyan Tun said Friday, during a speech to mark World Water Day.
The United Nations observes World Water Day every year with a view to raising public awareness of the importance of potable water and good sewage systems, which are beyond the reach of some people, the vice president said during his speech at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-2 here.
Water resources account for 75% of electricity generated nationwide, with 90% of total water consumption in rural areas coming from irrigation facilities.
The vice president said every day was ‘water day,’ as the decisions people make each day are vital to the management of water resources.
Myanmar formed a national water resources committee in 2013, the following year setting the goal of achieving effective water resource management in 10 years.
Safe drinking water and adequate irrigation facilities top the government’s agenda for national development, the vice president said, quoting President U Thein Sein’s speech delivered on 9 August 2013.
U Nyan Tun described water resource management in the agricultural sector as critical for agricultural growth, environmental sustainability and rural development, stressing programmes to educate people on river ecosystems and encourage public participation in water management.
Speaking of the effects of urbanization on water resources, he said greater emphasis should be put on improving water supply, sewage and drainage in big cities of Yangon and Mandalay.
With greater waves of migration from rural to urban areas, a majority of urban people lack access to adequate clean water, thereby worsening living standards, he said, adding that an all-inclusive approach has been taken to write a law on protection and preservation of water resources.
Representatives of the Water Expert Team of the World Bank gave talks on “Dynamics of River Basin Management” and “Linking Myanmar and the post-2015 Development Agenda-A New Era for Water Resources Development and Management,” followed by “From Vision to Action and From Action to Vision” by Mr Joan Boer, Ambassador of Netherlands to Myanmar, and “Process of Myanmar Water Sector Reform and Progress” by U Tun Lwin Oo, Director General of the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems.
The Dutch ambassador handed over a copy of “Myanmar IWRM Strategic Study Report” to U Han Sein, Deputy Minister for Transport.