Social Sciences

Building institutions for the sustainable management of artesian groundwater in Myanmar

Project code
AUD 2,143,447
Research program manager
Dr Jayne Curnow
Project leader
Sonali Senaratna-Sellamuttu, International Water Management Institute
JAN 2020
DEC 2022
Project status
Legally committed/Active
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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

  • Understanding how artesian aquifers operate and the implications of over-extraction, and consequently, will actively participate in institutional arrangements to conserve groundwater. 
  • Adopting sustainable and equitable practices for managing artesian tubewells.
  • Implementing 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.
Key partners
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Myanmar
Aqua Rock Konsultants, Myanmar
CSIRO Land and Water, Australia
Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development