A consortium of eight companies and organisations has been awarded financial support from the prestigious Partners for Water innovation fund of the Dutch government to undertake a two-year climate adaptation pilot project in the township of Thaketa (Yangon).

The multidisciplinary consortium consisting of The Water Agency, Doh Eain, Infram, Resilience, World Waternet, Witteveen+Bos, Water Bridge Myanmar, and U.Minds has been preparing for the project since November 2018, working closely with the Yangon Regional Government, Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) and the local community of Thaketa.
One year ago, the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) requested the consortium to investigate the potential of climate adaptation to address the increasingly critical issues of water scarcity and flooding in the city, based on innovative approaches from the Netherlands. The consortium was assigned to the township of Thaketa, one of the most water-scarce and flood-prone parts of Yangon. Between November 2018 and July 2019, the consortium worked with YCDC and local communities on an Analysis and Feasibility Study to assess the climate vulnerabilities, identify adaption needs and assess potential types of interventions.

In August 2019, the consortium agreed with the Chief Minister of the Yangon Regional Government, the Mayor of Yangon and the Secretary of YCDC to create a climate adaptation pilot project in Ward 5 of Thaketa.

In the project, the consortium will run an innovative community-driven stakeholder participation process for designing and implementing different types of climate adaptation interventions, based on the social innovation approach from one of the most successful, innovative climate adaptation programs in the Netherlands: Amsterdam Rainproof. Critical in this approach is not the technical interventions as such, but the community-driven process (methodology) as a result of which the interventions are co-designed. The project will be supported by an extensive community awareness and education campaign and capacity building for YCDC staff.

The primary measurable results from the pilot are:

  1. Increased availability of clean water in periods of drought, and;
  2. Decreased flood incidence in the rainy season

In addition, the project expects to generate additional (measurable) results and value through the smart design of the interventions, including:

  • Increased disposable household income because of reduced costs of drinking water
  • Decreased incidence of diarrhea and dengue because of improved water quality and drainage
  • Improved socio-economic dynamics e.g. jobs, business activity, rating of "liveability" by residents
  • Decreased groundwater extraction (slowing subsidence).

The consortium strongly believes that a decentralized, community-driven approach to climate adaptation and resilience has important merits, particularly for vulnerable and underdeveloped (delta) cities like Yangon. If successful, the ambition is to work closely with the local government and other funders/investors, to scale and replicate the approach to other parts of the Yangon – and beyond.

For more information about the project, please contact Gregor van Essen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)