The World Bank has approved a $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) to improve the management and development of the Ayeyarwady River Basin and national water resources in Myanmar.
The Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBMP) is expected to benefit millions of poor people whose livelihoods are based on water dependent sectors like agriculture, the Washington-based lender said.
“Myanmar has set out to manage its water resources more sustainably and efficiently. We are pleased to help finance this project, which will help improve water usage, river transport, and disaster risk management,” said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Manager for Myanmar.
The World Bank said the project will help protect the lives and livelihoods of those living in areas affected by drought, floods and storms. The project also aims to strengthen the government’s ability to sustainably manage the Ayeyarwady River by developing water resources management institutions and enabling informed decisions about future investments in developing the river.
“We expect the project will raise agricultural productivity and incomes and significantly improve the lives of families along the river,” he added.
Modernisation of Myanmar’s hydro-meteorological observation and warning systems is also expected to protect weather-vulnerable communities. Those who are exposed to hazards generally tend to be poor, and women are often disproportionately harmed by disasters. Improving access to and accuracy of agricultural advisories should increase farmers’ productivity, the bank said.
The project is also designed to facilitate navigation and make water transport safer and more economically viable. Currently, high sediment loads pose a major challenge for navigation on the river.
The banks the project will support design and installation of navigation aids along the major corridors of the river.
“This project will help capacity building for water resources management and promote effective management of the quantity, quality and reliability of water, including potable water, for all water users,” said U Htun Lwin Oo, director general, Directorate of Water Resources and Improvements of River Systems.