Myanmar is facing pollution problems because its water resources are not being effectively maintained, said Vice President U Henry Van Thio yesterday.
“We need to manage our country’s water resources effectively,” said the Vice President, stressing the importance of implementing the Integrated Water Resources Management project by key water-related ministries for effective and efficient utilisation, conservation and storage. Additionally, effective management would result in fair water allocation among ministerial-level water users and better water and budget sharing among states and regions, he said.
“There is so much potential for the utilisation of our water resources. Like many other countries, we are facing problems of too much water or too little water and water pollution,” said the Vice President in his opening remark at the World Water Day 2018 celebration in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Water Resources Committee.
Myanmar receives good rainfall, except in the central dry zone, and has many rivers and natural lakes, as well as groundwater aquifers.
U Henry Van Thio also stressed on the need to promote the capacity of the staff and all stakeholders related to the water sector and to update the relevant laws and regulations to promote the quality of services.
The demand for 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.
He also said the government must cooperate with citizens to develop the water-related sectors, such as water supply and water treatment, sanitation, personal hygiene and clean environment, agriculture, livestock, hydro power and industry tourism, while avoiding an impact on the environment.
“We need to promote awareness, discussion and sharing of information, knowledge and technology, and mutual cooperation among water users. We need to raise awareness and share knowledge with the general public through education and the sectors concerned to convey the importance of water resources for the economic, social and all-round development of all the sectors and their protection,” he added.
The theme for World Water Day 2018 is “Nature for Water.”
In December 2017, Myanmar hosted the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Yangon, which is an important event for the Asia Pacific countries.
During the summit, sound water cycle management, governance and inclusive development, extension of safe and sustainable drinking water, and improved sanitation and wastewater management services at the local and national level, as well as the establishment of a regional system to monitor financial support for water-related sustainable development goals were discussed.
“As a result of the 3rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit, the “Yangon Declaration” was adopted, and we are cooperating with the Asia-Pacific Water Forum to discuss the outcome at the World Water Forum 2018 in March in Brazil,” the Vice President said.
The United Nations General Assembly had designated “2018 to 2028” as the International Decade for Action for Water for Sustainable Developments.
In Myanmar, the World Water Day celebrations are being organised by the National Water Resources Committee since 2014.
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.