- By Maung Kyee Yay
Natural resources are resources that exist without actions of humankind which includes all valued characteristics of sunlight, atmosphere, water, and land along with all vegetation, plants and animal life.
Natural resources are materials and components that can be found within our environment and every man-made product is composed of natural resources. But some natural resources such as sunlight and air can be found everywhere. In recent years, the depletion of natural resources has become a major focus of governments and organizations around the world.
Therefore the necessary steps should be taken by countries and organizations in order to conserve their natural resources. The depletion of natural resources is considered to be a concernsustainable development issue. Efforts are needed to ensure for future generations to meet their own needs.
In regards to natural resources, depletion is of concern for sustainable development as it has the ability to degrade current environments and potential to impact the needs of future generations. That’s why the conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem unless we solve that problem, it will avail us little to solve all others if we do not solve that problems.
Water resources are sources of water mainly used in agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities.
In Myanmar, most are normally rain fed and only 8-12 percent of sown has been irrigated for almost the past fifty years. As a result, availability of water plays a vital role in crop production. Although Myanmar is rich in abundant water resources, totaling approximately 870 million acre-feet, only 41 million acre-feet has been utilized for the time being now.
Traditionally, agriculture in Myanmar mainly depends upon annual rainfall; it is of utmost importance to use effective utilization of water resources management.
As for the Ministry for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, long-term plans have been made to formulate the irrigation systems and utilization of pumping irrigation from rivers streams and underground water.
Surface water is naturally replenished by precipitation and naturally lost through discharge to the oceans, evaporation, evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge. Nevertheless, over the long term the average rate of precipitation within a watershed is the upper bound for average consumption of natural surface water from that watershed. Natural surface water can be augmented by importing surface water from another watershed through a canal or pipeline.
Water pollution is one of the main concerns of the world today. The governments of numerous countries have striven to find solutions to reduce this problem.
Gaining access to clean water
Myanmar receives abundant rainfall and other sources form the ground water, river water, lake water, creek water, stream water. Moreover there are plenty of fresh water and salt water resources and very few people encounter water scarcity problem in Myanmar.
In some countries, they are lack of fresh water resources and receive little rainfall. In this circumstance, the people cannot get safe and clean drinking water so they have to import potable water from foreign countries.
Nowadays, clean water scarcity becomes one of the global hot issues and people are in need of purified drinking water for their survival. It is of great importance for human beings to get access to portable water so that they can sustain their life.
United Nations and some INGOs have tried to make the exploitation clean water resources as much as they can for supplying safe water to those who do not get clean water in their daily life. The root cause of being unhealthy is lack of getting easy access to clean water for our daily consumption.
Getting easy access to clean drinking water
Every summer, the central part, costal area and delta area across the country face the problem of water shortage; especially the villages rely on natural resources which tend to be dry due to little rainfall. As a rule, many villages tend to face water challenges every year.
Myanmar has frequently suffered from destructive earthquakes and water-related extreme events, such as cyclones, periodic flooding, and droughts, besides landslides, which resulted in the loss of several lives and damages, posing major challenges in terms of water quality control and wastewater management.
Myanmar receives good rainfall, except in the central dry zone, and has many rivers and natural lakes, as well as groundwater aquifers. The demand for clean water in Myanmar’s cities has increased with the increase in population and urbanization, while the demand for water in the rural areas has also increased due to expanding cultivation and other rural-based economic activities.
Getting clean drinking water is a nationwide priority in Myanmar. In the future, more drinking water supply will be based on piped water system and Myanmar has many dams and reservoirs for drinking water; villages tend to use open water ponds for water storage.
There is so much potential for the utilization of our water resources. Like many other countries, Myanmar is facing problems of too much water or too little water and water pollution.
The authority concerned is trying to develop the water-related sectors, such as water supply and water treatment, sanitation, personal hygiene and clean environment, agriculture, livestock and hydro power sectors.
Importance of water resource management
It is needed for the authority concerned to raise awareness to the public through education and to convey the importance of water resources for the economic, social and all-round development of all the sectors.
Therefore concerted efforts should be made to get clean drinking water. We should be aware of the global water-shortage caused by ground water over-pumping and aquifer depletion. The adequate treatment of waste- water is required and it is a solution to this problem.
Whatever it is, it is better to make efforts for implementation of solving water issues such as acquisition of adequate water supply, valuation of water, protection from floods and storms, conservation of water resources with systematic management in the long run.
Win Ko Ko Aung