Groundwater week, a yearly held event initiated by National Groundwater Association since 2013, is mainly intended to meet up all the professionals across the world including groundwater specialists, scientists, engineers, manufacturers, suppliers and also the groundwater activists, users and to put heads together in figuring out current and future groundwater challenges and in finding adaptive solutions to all these problems. The annual groundwater week is usually run by organizing various educating workshops, short courses, panel discussions, groundwater-related technology, products and services exhibitions and educational contests day after day during the specified week at the end of the year.
In this year 2020, Myanmar's groundwater sector has arranged its first participation of groundwater week with the collaboration of respective persons from the water industry around the nation. The introduction of groundwater seminar went virtual via zoom as coronavirus lockdown rules are still enforced. The event hosted aiming to gain worthwhile decisions and implementations for Myanmar groundwater sector was attended by about 100 participants and went well according to the agenda of knowledge sharing and discussion section.
Why Groundwater Week is Celebrated in Myanmar?
Groundwater week is firstly held in Myanmar to raise the alarm of groundwater concerns. As the first half of the groundwater week seminar, U Myint Thein, a freelance groundwater and wellness consultant, who is also an award-winning author, gave an introduction about how groundwater week was originated and celebrated per year, then he also deeply mentioned how Myanmar groundwater sector should move forward to tackle groundwater-related issues. The water used for the purposes of irrigation, domestic and industry by all the nations across the globe significantly is groundwater which is around 60% of the total amount. It is needless to say that the need of law enforcement for groundwater extraction, uses and maintenance, systematic research on the user database, groundwater management, and groundwater basin management are crucially important to discover solutions for future water scarcity. Additionally, the methodical approach to meet all these demands is setting up an institution of groundwater and wells in Myanmar with the involvement of individuals from the respective fields, universities, communities and government.
"We can build up an institution only with the small number of professional colleagues with corresponding backgrounds and implement it slowly and steadily at first. Later on, promoting educating programs of groundwater awareness to the users, arranging research paper reading events, enabling international cooperation of groundwater and hydrogeology institutions and finding opportunities for areas of improvement could be carried out. And I suppose that when the groundwater law is strongly legalized and the establishment of institution is successful, Myanmar groundwater sector will be developed systematically," said U Myint Thein.
Things Needed to be Done for Better Groundwater Management
U Zaw Min Tun highlighted the things which will help sustainable development and management of groundwater resource during the event. Even though groundwater which we abundantly used is regarded as rechargeable natural resource, there are some exceptions depending on climate, human activities and so on. The fact, then, indicated the importance of sustainable groundwater conservation and management leaning on three pillars of economy, society and environment. What is more, problems of droughts, groundwater salinity, disasters occurred due to the overexploitation of groundwater, groundwater pollution and contaminated water-borne diseases are all necessary to be responded with the sustainable groundwater management.
Here, U Zaw Min Tun pointed out the things which needed to be operated in setting up efficient groundwater management and these are mentioned as follows.
- Cooperating and coordinating of government, professionals and citizens in groundwater management
- Enacting groundwater law
- Transparency in groundwater management
- Taking responsibility from the consumers who are somehow related to the groundwater contamination and depletion problems
As soon as the individual knowledge sharing section ended, the discussion between speakers was emphasized on setting up an institution of groundwater and wells in Myanmar. The engrossing Q&A section was also conducted following this and this year 2020's groundwater week commemoration was ended with much better plans for future Myanmar groundwater sector.
Written by Thidar Maung Maung.
Check the following presentation files that are presented during the webinar.