International aid agencies, big and small, are beating a path to Myanmar, relishing the prospect of launching projects in a nation of 51 million people tentatively emerging from more than five decades of military rule.
The central plains of Myanmar, bordered by mountains on the west and east, include the only semi-arid region in South East Asia – the Dry Zone, home to some 10 million people. This 13 percent of Myanmar’s territory sums up the challenges that the country faces with respect to water security: an uneven geographical and seasonal distribution of this natural resource, the increasing unpredictability of rain patterns due to climate change, and a lack of water management strategies to cope with extreme weather conditions.
Lack of water management and limited access to data risk hindering Myanmar’s economic growth, making water security a top priority of the new government.
It has been two weeks now since the village of Htita, with its few bamboo houses hemmed in by parched, cracked earth and dried-out ponds, has enjoyed the novelty of its first ever water well.
How much water does it take to turn on a light? It took 10,000 litres to make your jeans. Another three big bathtubs of water was needed for your two-eggs-toast-coffee breakfast this morning.