Background 

In November 2018, the Yangon Region Government and the Government of the Netherlands agreed on a 3-year collaboration program of the Partners for International Business (PIB) - Urban Water Logistics for a Greater Yangon. In this program, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Dutch Water Consortium jointly designed to deliver a locally grounded and practical plan to make Yangon City more climate-resilient regarding water supply, groundwater, drainage systems and flood resilience under Urban Water Theme. Ward 5 of Thaketa Township, one of the most water-scarce and flood-prone areas of Yangon, was ultimately chosen after careful deliberation given its strong and active community. The Thaketa Climate Adaptation Pilot Project, named the Yangon Htee City Program, aimed to establish 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 (initiated by Waternet).

Since 2019, Yangon Htee City has been contributing to the improvement of urban climate resilience through tangible and practical interventions at a neighbourhood, street and household level, including household rainwater harvesting, drainage improvement, water quality monitoring, household water filters, and also through community-based actions such as awareness and education programs. However, according to the global outbreak of Covid-19, starting from early mid-2020, the project decided to more emphasize digital engagement and coordination for community awareness and education programs by diverse knowledge-sharing platforms such as Yangon Htee City Facebook Page, project-based education sharing website (Climate Lab Asia) and finally, Htee City Smart Water Mobile Application.

What exactly is the Htee City Smart Water Mobile Application? 

Htee City Smart Water Mobile Application is a user-friendly mobile application developed for the urban citizens of Yangon/Myanmar (Asia) aiming to give theoretical and practical support in increasing water and climate resilience.

It is a user-friendly mobile application developed for the urban citizens of Yangon/Myanmar (Asia) aiming to give theoretical and practical support in increasing water and climate resilience under three main topic menu of Too Much Water, Too Little Water & What to do When? by

  • Sharing knowledge on water topics
  • Relating water topics to timing: 'water timeline/ diary' - what to do when? (e.g., prevention & preparation methods for flooding) and 'Climate Resilience Calendar' focuses on practical information of the project and how to use this (e.g., on rainwater harvesting, water quality testing and improving).

How will the first launching of the app look like? 

According to the project timeline, as the preliminary stage, the first launch of the app will be an Offline Android Version with a full load of practical content which are going to deliver both in the Burmese & English language in various deliverables forms of infographics, cartoons, text-based and visualized tips and tricks.

Who will be benefited from this? 

Not only Yangon, everyone from anywhere can access the delivered content anytime especially what they have to do seasonally, for example,

  • The importance of drains cleaning and improvement before every monsoon.
  • How they can improve solid waste management individual and community level which is now the main-driven factor for urban flooding in Yangon.
  • The practical guideline of building a rainwater harvesting system on their own and the maintenance and preparation plan before the rain.
  • Awareness of good water quality, how to improve and related health issues.
  • Ways of conserving and valuing water (eg, groundwater recharging) and how to prepare for emergency water, etc.

Where are we now? 

Htee City Mobile Application Prototyping Workshop

The App is now in the stage of developing user design and updating the content as a Prototype Model. The content development is in the mid-way of the progress while aligning with some of the community input/feedback from a workshop called the Htee City Mobile Application Prototyping Workshop that we had organized around late November 2021. This workshop aimed to introduce the app to the wider community and to get user feedbacks both on user design functions, content, and future possible promotion of the app. The workshop was organized virtually with five young-adults who are former participants of the Yangon Raincraft Program Round II and with the three project community members in person. Through brainstorming activities and small assignments, we could get lots of insightful and inclusive perspectives both from young and old age participants on how they are looking up to the app, what they are expecting and what to improve for now and even for future development stages.

Regarding this, some of the main additions to follow up will be to add more localized, real-time data and community-based information, to link with google maps, weather websites etc. 

What will be the possible future development additions to the app? 

As for the target audience, spread out to rural areas by sharing especially farming-oriented water-related practices, sanitation practices within Myanmar more than urban individual and household level practices. Besides for outside Myanmar, it can be to use the same set-up for other countries. It might also be able to develop an online version with improved and new-added functions such as weekly/monthly articles by linking to other knowledge sharing & education platforms, local marketing and promoting daily use, a community platform in the app and a daily notification reminder function together with incentive quizzes.