The River Basin Management Approach - A Pilot in the Bago River Sub-basin Area
The Bago River Sub-basin Management Plan was presented on 20 September, 2018. On behalf of NIVA, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Ingrid Nesheim presented on how the project came into existence.
The Bago River Sub-basin Management Plan brings together government departments, DWIR, Forest Department (FD), Environmental Conservation Department (ECD), Irrigation and Water Utilization Management Department (IWUMD), Bago City Development Committee (BCDC) and other stakeholders to determine a strategic plan for improvement of the water quality in the Bago river.
Upstream the water quality is sufficient, however downstream the quality is poor and potentially harmful for the local population and environment. Therefore the river basin approach was chosen, considering the hydrological cycles of the river: tackling problems upstream to ensure improvement of water quality in the river.
In her presentation Ingrid Nesheim emphasized the importance of undertaking a holistic approach:
"A sectoral approach tends to lead to a fragmented undertaking, poor management, whereas the integrated approach places emphasis on maximizing the economic and social welfare".
Nesheim added that the project was taking an adaptive management approach, where the parties involved focussed on learning by doing.
The plan was initiated in Bago region in 2015. Considerable time was taken to ensure a smooth administrative approach, ensuring solid operations later on in the project. A committee was erected, comprised of representatives from MONREC, Forest Department, IWUMD Bago, DWIR Bago, ECD Bago, Department of Fishery, Department of Agriculture, Department of Rural Development and Bago Township Development of Community. In parallel, a stakeholder group was erected.
The identification of the pressures on the river was specifically done for four townships in the area, the Bago township, Thanatpin township, Kawa and Waw townships. In these area several pressures were identified, such as deforestation, erosion, nutrient pollution.
In the Strategic Management Plan several measures are presented, specified for each of the participating departments. The measures are categorized, and prioritized, based on effectiveness , political visibility and social visibility.The next step is to start implementation of measures and provide online universal access to the data that has been collected during the project. As such, it will provide a platform for future projects related to Integrated Water Resources Management. Ingrid Nesheim stated that data should soon be available.