A river basin planning Decision Support System (DSS) for Myanmar

Before harnessing the vast potential of the Ayeyarwady River basin, Myanmar officials needed to assess the consequences of various river basin development scenarios. DHI worked closely with the Hydro-informatics Centre of Myanmar to develop a dedicated Decision Support System (DSS) and trained local experts to ensure its continued use. The objectives were to enable informed decisions and sustainable development of the basin.

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Challenge

Need for careful river basin planning

With plenty of water available, Myanmar has many opportunities to increase the use of water resources in the Ayeyarwady River basin for irrigation, hydropower, navigation and so on. The installed hydropower capacity can potentially be increased by tenfold and lead to major changes in the river flow, water levels, sediment transport, water quality and more. It is important that the development is carefully planned to minimise any adverse impacts and that sufficient information is made available to stakeholders beforehand to enable sound decisions.

Solution

Decision Support System to assess river basin development scenarios

Working closely with the Hydro-informatics Centre of Myanmar, DHI developed a DSS to assess the environmental, social and economic consequences of scenarios for the river basin development, and to make the findings easily available to stakeholders.

MIKE HYDRO Basin models were developed to represent considerations such as hydropower dams, irrigation schemes, changes in land cover and predicted climate change. Based on the dynamics of sea water intrusion, sediment transport and flooding described in other models, different river basin development scenarios were defined, and the consequences derived.

The DSS was developed to extract key indicators on the potential impacts of the development and this information can then be provided online to stakeholders, along with water resources data from local and global sources and relevant reports.

Results

Increased understanding of the impacts of proposed developments

Improved communication with stakeholders

Development of an advanced planning tool to facilitate informed decision-making

About the client

Our client is the National Water Resources Committee (NWRC), an apex body of the Myanmar water sector, which aims to promote good water governance and implement IWRM across the country. Consequently, the Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management (AIRBM) project has been created with the support of the World Bank. The Focal Ministry of NWRC is the Union Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) and the implementing agency is the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR). One of the major outputs of the AIRBM project is the development of a Decision Support System and the Ayeyarwady Basin Master Plan. The formulation and analyses of various river basin development scenarios were represented in the DSS development by the Hydro-Informatics Centre (HIC), established in 2014 as a water operation centre and decision-support arm of the NWRC for water resources development and management in Myanmar.

Software used

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