Villages brace for water shortages this summer


Source: The Myanmar Times

Date: 7 March 2018

As summer sets in, hundreds of villages throughout the country are likely to face water shortages in the coming months, warned the water supply and sanitation section of the Department of Rural Development.

According to official records, 860 villages suffered water scarcity in 2016, and last year 527 villages face water crisis, largely due to the El Nino effect in the last two years, which happened to be the hottest years.

Every summer, the central part, coastal area and delta area across the country face water problems, especially the villages who rely on natural resources which tend to be dry due to little rainfall.

"We expect over a hundred villages to face water challenges this year. We do not know yet which villages will face water shortages this year.

"In the past two years, we got information by the end of February," said U Hla Khine, director of the water supply and sanitation section.

Authorities are gearing up for the dry days and mobilising machinery to collect data and supply water to areas hit by shortages.

"We are preparing to distribute emergency water to areas of scarcity," said U Soe Than , director of the Rural Development Department of Ayeyarwady Region, which faces water shortages every year.

During the 2015-2016 summer, 7,032,738 gallons of water were distributed, and in 2017, 15,727,118 gallons of water were supplied.

Weather experts predict this year's summer could be another hot one, although it may not be as hot as in the last two years.

Water shortages are common in dry zones such as Mandalay, Magwe and Sagaing regions.

But highland areas like Chan, Shan, Kayan, Rakhine, Yangon, Ayeyarwady, and Bago regions are facing similar woes due to climate change.

"Water shortages are a big challenge these days, but people don't care because they think that they will get water easily forever.

Water will become a valuable thing, not like people think," said Daw Dwei Thant Zin, head of the Myanmar Green Network, an environmental group.

"There are many migrant people in the cities and new buildings are going up in Yangon, and that threatens ground water.

"The government should pay more attention to resolving water shortages.

"We need laws to protect our water resources and prevent our lakes from drying up," said Daw Dwei Thant Zin.

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