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River and Coastal Shapers
“If a man fails to honor the rivers, he shall not gain the life from them.”
Rivers are dynamic. The flow of a river, and the amount of water in a river, changes. The form or shape of a river changes and so does coastal region. A large proportion of the world's population live and work near coasts and rivers. Rivers and coasts make perfect artistical paintings on natural canvas called, the Earth. Creating the comfort zone within the environment is one of the survival instincts for human being.
Rivers were crucial to the survival of early civilizations because they were responsible for providing a source of water, irrigation for good farmland and a way for people to trade with other people through water transportation. Similarly, in a recent decade, rivers are still precious to human being. Considering about sedimentation, freshwater, sanitation has significant factors till now.
More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, especially in coastal regions due to economic status and trading. Growing world’s population has demanded to create more living space in coastal region. Land Reclamation is one of the options to allocate upcoming populations. To withstand storm that is usually coming from the ocean, it makes sure to support the coastal regions’ strength and capacity.
Water in the city is mainly focused on infrastructure development, urban design and transportation framework which include as a major factor in developing Yangon. Moreover, urbanization become more and more complex and manifold, these four main topics are particularly spotlights of water-related development:
As the chaotic traffic in the city worsens every day and commuters are forced to waste valuable time in transit, Yangon is calling for “River Transport” which could save time and also can lead to lower air pollution. To help reduce transportation time and traffic jams, it is critical for authorities to make better use of the city’s waterways. Navigation channels are needed to be upgraded not only for transporting commuters but also for transporting goods. If the waterways can take more container transport, this could help alleviate traffic in downtown Yangon, where heavy trucks ship containers in and out of the city throughout the day.
Heavy monsoon rain causes serious flooding in Yangon every rainy season. People in Yangon also suffer floods caused by the inadequate drainage system. Floods caused by heavy rains block the road networks, resulting in the traffic jams. People have to use main roads as there are no platforms to walk. Roads in Yangon are also in need of maintenance. The height of roads in Yangon grows higher due to the resurfacing of damaged roads. Water flows into the houses when there are heavy rains. The government needs to effectively deal with this problem by laying down a master plan to use a large sum of money on the drainage system and roads and bridges.
Yangon is suffering flooding every monsoon due to climate change and increased urban development. It is essential to design Yangon as a flood-proof city and give space for water to live in. As there are some unused and empty spaces in Yangon, they can be revitalized as rainwater reservoirs and even as water parks which serve as recreation spot. Construction of rooftop gardens and permeable roads that store runoff will also reduce the amount of rainwater runoff. But the vision of flood-resilient Yangon can only be achieved when there is coordination among stakeholders, governments, and citizens.
Current projections of rapid expansion of urban areas present fundamental challenges to design more livable, healthy and resilient Yangon. Integrating ecosystem services including green spaces such as parks, urban forests, vacant lots, gardens and blue spaces like streams, lakes, ponds, artificial swales, and storm water retention ponds into urban development would be a ‘no-regret’ investment for Yangon. The cooling effect of trees from urban parks may contribute significantly to reduce the rising temperatures of the city in summer. And also the ponds and reservoirs will collect rainwater and prevent flooding during the time of heavy rains.
Despite of having long coastline, Myanmar is lack with deep sea ports and there are a lot of challenges in the country’s port development. Besides, the main operating ports such as Thilawa and Yangon have problems. One of the constraints is a very limited draft which is a maximum of 9 meters. The second constraint is the presence of two bars in the waters around Yangon. The inner bar is very close to Yangon city center which limits the effectiveness of Yangon port while the outer bar at the mouth of the Andaman Sea restricts vessel movements to both ports. Therefore, deep sea ports should be developed based on the careful assessments on available opportunities and constraints the country facing now. As key functions of the Myanmar Water Community of Practice (CoP) are to influence decision makers and identify critical gaps and opportunities and elevate the issue of specific water challenges into a broader planning context, it is an ideal to use Community of Practice as a key collective for port development issues to be considered, discussed and resolved.
The Myanmar Water CoP stimulates peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and learning between local and international water experts and empowers local ownership. It becomes a Body of Knowledge and - as a collective - will act as a Facilitator and Connector to help water experts to be part of the process.
The CoP provides a connection between existing groups and provides a key place for water issues related matters to be considered, discussed and resolved.
Key functions of the CoP are:
- Sharing information on specific water management issue through expert meetings and seminars
- Providing commentary and critique on key water programs in Myanmar such as flooding and river transport
- Influence decision makers and identify critical gaps and opportunities
- Elevate the issue of specific water challenges into a broader planning context
As the Myanmar Water CoP is driven by local ownership, it focuses on the water challenges as presented by the local experts. This offers a unique and valuable insight into the issues that really matter to people locally, who owns them, what approaches are considered, how these are prioritised, etc. International experts participate at the invitation of the local hosts.