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27 July 2018

Joint venture to develop Ayeyarwady River Basin, Myanmar

A joint venture of Mott MacDonald, DHI and the International Centre for Environmental Management has been appointed by the World Bank to shape the development of Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady River Basin up to 2040.

The Ayeyarwady is Myanmar’s largest river, its most important commercial waterway and home to 70% of the country’s population. The development of the river basin will help the country fulfil its future social, environmental and economic aims whilst equitably and efficiently balancing the competing needs of multiple sectors including energy, transport, fisheries, water supply and agriculture.

The joint venture will be responsible for the development of a decision support system, which will facilitate the sharing of data and information, scenario analysis and the assessment of alternative development pathways. The joint venture will also prepare an environmental and social assessment to evaluate the long-term impact of the development pathways. Using this information, the joint venture is working directly with the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems and other stakeholders to develop a basin master plan to address stakeholders’ desired outcomes through prioritised and phased investments.

Bobby Russell, project principal for Mott MacDonald, said: “By making use of an adaptive pathways approach in the basin planning process, we will be able to help decision-makers reach consensus on short-term no-regret investments. For the longer-term planning stakeholders will explore alternative development pathways as part of the basin planning process to assess how they may be impacted by a changing and somewhat uncertain future.”

“The development of the river is of great importance for Myanmar’s economic development and will have far-reaching consequences for growth and poverty alleviation, through improved water productivity, energy and food production and riverine transportation. For example an estimated 25% of the predominately rural population lives below the national poverty line and access to reliable irrigation water at affordable prices will create livelihood opportunities,” Bobby added.

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