Groundwater Use in Myanmar

Ten million people rely on an improved access to groundwater for their livelihoods — mainly dependent on agriculture – in the Dry Zone of Myanmar. The Dry Zone (DZ) extends over more than 75,000 km2 of the central part of the country, covers 54 townships within three regions.

Relatively high levels of water scarcity and climate variability are major defining characteristics of DZ. All of this has a strong bearing on poverty, food insecurity and economic growth. At the same time, DZ is intersected by major rivers, such as the Irrawaddy, Chindwin and Mu, which create potential opportunities to establish large-scale formal irrigation systems nearby. In the vast tracts of land in between the river valleys, groundwater may be highly appealing for the provision of year-round water supplies across water-use sectors.

The capacity of groundwater to mitigate some climate-related shocks and climate variability, often to a higher degree than surface water, could make it a particularly attractive water source.

This study from the International Water Management Institute explores the sustainable use of groundwater for socioeconomic development. According to this study, opportunities for accessing groundwater are generally good, and development of the resource has steadily increased over the years. However, there still appears to be good prospects for expanding groundwater use for irrigation, with a view to increasing agricultural production.

The specific objectives of this study are as follows:

• Characterise the physical availability of groundwater and identify barriers for its use

• Define typologies for agricultural groundwater use and present a number of examples using case studies • Explain the economic costs and benefits, along with the opportunities and constraints, for smallholder farmers using groundwater for irrigation. • Estimate the sustainable use of the groundwater resource.

• Explain the economic costs and benefits, along with the opportunities and constraints, for smallholder farmers using groundwater for irrigation • Estimate the sustainable use of the groundwater resource.

• Estimate the sustainable use of the groundwater resource

Read more about the study here

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