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March 29, 2020

Rakhine State dig wells amid water shortage

An artesian well is being dug. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency
An artesian well is being dug. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency

RESIDENTS of the Rakhine State townships of Minbya, Pauktaw, Taungup and Ponnagyun, have taken to digging their own artesian wells in an effort to access fresh water as local reservoirs dry up, according to local residents.
Restrictions have been put in place on the number of times water can be collected from drying reservoirs in the area, resulting in more and more residents taking the initiative to dig artesian wells in order to access drinking water.
“Water sellers in some townships have been forbidden from sourcing water from local reservoirs, with limitations put on the number of times water can be gathered, which has really driven up drinking water expenses. We’re digging an artesian well to help alleviate these expenses. It’s also being dug in preparation for more serious water shortages in the future,” said Daw Than May Kyi, a resident of Ponnagyun Township.
A barrel of water in the townships was priced at K500 in February, while the current price has risen to K1,500. Most families now incur daily water costs of K3,000 to K5,000.
Time restrictions on the fetching of water from reservoirs between 6am and 10am and between 4pm and 6pm have been put in place by neighbourhood leaders in a bid to mitigate the complete drying up of water sources, while restrictions have been set on the sourcing of water by cart, three wheeled vehicle, tractor and motorcar.
“Many people are now digging their own community artesian wells. But there are few areas where fresh water is available underground. It’s mostly only salty water or water with a reddish tinge. But they are still being dug as that water can at least be used to wash cups and dishes,” said Ko Kyaw Pu Kyel, a resident of Minbya Township involved with the digging of a well.


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