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Social Science Studies

Building institutions for the sustainable management of artesian groundwater in Myanmar

Project Code: SSS/2018/135
Research Program Manager: Jayne Curnow
Project Leader: Sonali Senaratna-Sellamuttu
JAN 2020
DEC 2022
Project Status: Legally committed/Active
Myanmar SSS


Developing and testing inclusive institutional arrangements and supporting a targeted public information campaign to restore artesian pressure in the Central Dry Zone (CDZ) of Myanmar as well as addressing inequities between water users to enhance equitable impact. 

Some 10.12 million people reside in the CDZ of Myanmar. Around 43% live in poverty and 40-50% of the rural population is landless. Most land owners are small holder/marginal farmers. The extreme variability and intensity of dry season rainfall are major constraints to rural livelihoods. Reliance on groundwater for agricultural and domestic use is therefore increasing. 

Drawing on earlier work, this project will survey private tubewell farmers to understand their reluctance to adopt sustainable tubewell management practices. This will underpin the development and implementation of an awareness and stakeholder engagement campaign addressing farmer reluctance, especially in the pilot sites for testing local institutional arrangements for groundwater management. 

Expected Outcomes

  • Communities and especially private tubewell owners will better understand how artesian aquifers operate and the implications of over-extraction, and consequently, will actively participate in institutional arrangements to conserve groundwater. 
  • Water users will adopt sustainable and equitable practices for managing artesian tubewells.
  • Broader groundwater management policy and regulatory frameworks in Myanmar, such as the new national groundwater law, the emerging national integrated water management strategy, and resulting groundwater management plans, and their implementation, are informed and influenced.