27 Aug 19 - Source: Myanmar Times - Work to install measuring and monitoring devices for dams during the monsoon season has been carried out, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw.
"Work such as adding cement and mortar to reduce leaking from the channels of spillways and strengthen them in some dams, and installing safety measuring equipment have been carried out, and we'll keep doing so depending on the requirements in the future," U Hla Kyaw said at the session of the Amyotha Hluttaw (Upper House) last Thursday.
He said this in a reply to a question from Mandalay Region constituency 2 MP U Tun Tun Oo about the strength of dams and reservoirs in Myanmar.
U Tun Tun Oo said he asked the question with the aim of improving disaster preparedness because such knowledge is weak in Myanmar and action is only taken after something happens.
"There are weaknesses in educating and providing information to people living near dams. Information about the dam, water level, weather, and possibility of a flood is generally not available, so I ask this question to put it in focus," he said, adding that officials should be assigned to the dams to coordinate with regional authorities as well.
"I don't see any officials with decision-making authority assigned to the dams. There are only dam guards. I want to highlight that. An official with decision-making authority is needed on the dam at all times for critical situations," he said.
U Hla Kyaw said measures to prevent dam failure due to natural disasters and emergency management plans for each dam to reduce possible danger to the public are being drafted now.
According to the ministry's information, there are 242 dams in Myanmar, with 35 under the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and seven under Department of Hydro Power Implementation. Of the total, 42 dams need maintenance.