Chindwin River Basin Scenario

Chindwin Chindwin River Basin

If I were a storyteller to the future generation about Chindwin River Basin, I would have started to explain about the Chindwin River, wouldn't I?

I got the story after interviewing with Than Htway Lwin from Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI). She gave me documents and reports related to biodiversity, ecosystem services, water quality monitoring and livelihoods in Chindwin River.

Chindwin Future (2014)

Starting from 2014, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in collaboration Myanmar Environment Institute (MEI) and other organizations from Myanmar and Mekong regional experts started Chindwin Futures project. The main purpose is to find out the key sustainability challenges faced in all or certain parts of the Chindwin River Basin. Initial core issues in the lower Chindwin River Basin include:

  • Securing livelihood options and local employment opportunities.
  • Maintaining water quality
  • Managing water availability
  • Integrating water resources development and management.
Download the profile of Chindwin Future: Here
Preservation of water samples from the Uru River, Homalin, Myanmar in September 2016 (Thanapon Piman, SEI).

Water Quality Monitoring in the Chindwin River Basin (2015 – 2016)

Under the Chindwin Futures program, the status of water quality had been monitored and measured. Water quality sampling and testing was showed two times per year in the dry season and in the wet season during 2015 and 2016.

Over few years, due to rapid economic development, the river basin has affected in radical changes in socio-economic and ecological conditions. Although water users noticed about water quality declined, so far there was no comprehensive scientific study which was undertaken to assess water quality and sources of water pollution in Myanmar. Still, Myanmar has not started to effectively address issues of river basin degradation and concerns for public health and safety.

In that case, the results were summarized four times in 2015 and 2016 at 17 locations in the river basin. These could provide useful information for the public in Myanmar to understand about a serious problem of water pollution in Chindwin river.

Download the document : Here.

Key biodiversity areas within the Chindwin River Basin.

Chindwin Biodiversity and ecosystem services (2017-2019)

More than that, after water quality monitoring, another situation came up.

Do you know how many threatened species are in Chindwin basin hosting 11 key "biodiversity hotspots"?

The basin creates home for 38 globally endangered species and is important for biological diversity. (ref: IUCN)

Yet, currently, mining, logging, hydropower, agriculture, navigation and transportation affect on communities, livelihoods and biodiversity. Especially, the declining water quality in the Chindwin River create an impact on social and environmental concerns.

This project is currently ongoing and it will help to support policy-makers for providing strong environmental and social safeguards for the people and environment.

Download the document: Here

Fourth stakeholder consultation on Chindwin Futures Assessment, Monywa, 6-7 October 2015: Participants discussed the various mandates of Chindwin RBO that can add value to existing institutions

 Chindwin River Basin Organization (Chindwin RBO)

In order to achieve a healthy river and to manage the water and river systems sustainably for future generations, Chindwin River Basin Organization (Chindwin RBO) was established. This organization could promote stakeholder engagement in decision-making processes on water resources development in the Chindwin. Besides, this will help to raise public awareness of relevant stakeholders. For example, stakeholders like farmers and local people are crucial as they live in the Chindwin Basin and use water directly without proper treatment.

Download the document: Here.

Immediate threats

All water samples had bacteria from all tested locations – Homalin, Kalewa, Kani and Monywa. Loss of water quality and illegal mining are the instant threats. Heavy metals including As, Cu, Fe and Hg were detected at Kani downstream and Ya Mar River.

As values of parameters are higher than the WHO drinking standard, water quality monitoring should proceed. Otherwise it will impact on human health and environment from sources of water pollution.


I created the overview project story in Chindwin River basin based on the reports and documents endorsed by SEI and MEI. Since Chindwin River is vital for local livelihoods and useful for domestic use such as drinking and for raising livestock, more assessments are able to be created and I was looking forward to connect with Chindwin River Basin scenario if there are further projects. 

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