The Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management (AIRBM) project – a collaboration between the Department of Water Resources, Australia and the Netherlands, with financial backing from the World Bank – aims to both protect and develop Myanmar’s most famous waterway.
Project director U Win Hlaing said AIRBM will aim to mitigate the effects of climate change, develop river-water resources across the country and advise on water transportation plans. The project will try to improve the meteorology technology being used on the river and standardise transportation between Mandalay and Nyaung Oo in Mandalay Region, he said.
It will also help develop a water law and a master plan for river management, and support organisations that work on river-related issues.
The project’s final report is due on June 30, 2017, said Daw Khin Ni Ni Thein, who is a co-director of the project.
“We will do what we can to improve profits [from river resources],” she said. “But we will not do it by letting people tear down the environment.”
The Netherlands signed onto the project in 2013 and Australia signed on in 2015, so there has been plenty of time to prepare, said Daw Khin Ni Ni Thein.
Between 26 million and 30 million people live in the Ayeyarwady River basin.