Chairman of National Water Resources Committee Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing addresses World Water Day 2023

Chairman of National Water Resources Committee Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing addresses World Water Day 2023

NAY PYI TAW March 22

    World Water Day 2023 was observed at Myanmar International Convention Centre II here this morning, addressed by Chairman of National Water Resources Committee (NWRC) Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

    Also present were SAC Joint Secretary Lt-Gen Ye Win Oo, SAC members General Mya Tun Oo, Admiral Tin Aung San, Lt-Gen Moe Myint Tun, Lt-Gen Yar Pyae, Poe Rei Aung Thein, Mahn Nyein Maung, Dr Hmu Htan, U Maung Ko, Dr Aung Kyaw Min, Dr Kyaw Tun, Khun San Lwin and U Yan Kyaw, Union ministers, the Nay Pyi Taw Council chairman, senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, the Nay Pyi Taw Command commander, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries, directors general,

principals and rectors from universities and colleges, distinguished guests and officials. Region/state chief ministers participated in the meeting through video conferencing.

In his keynote address, the Senior General said water is the most basic resource for all life. It is providing food and water for human beings and supporting the ecosystem and biodiversity. Water should be used systematically and effectively without causing any losses. Access to water should be ensured for every person through collective efforts. Global water demand is rising alongside the population increase and urban and industrial development. Water resources are dwindling because of the harmful impacts of climate change and human activities on them and the natural environment. Obviously, the world countries are joining hands to address the problem of shrinking water resources.

Annual World Water Day celebrations have been held with year-wise themes to promote awareness of water resources. This year’s theme is “Accelerating Change.”

As the saying goes, “Man can survive for just one morning without water” water is the lifeblood of mankind. Water shortage can have multiple impacts on man including his basic needs, health and economy. Hence, nations are tasked with providing sufficient clean and safe water for their peoples. Water that is not free from infectious agents and harmful chemicals and is not odorless and colorless can be categorized as contaminated and unfit for consumption. Both nature and human impact can be the cause of water pollution. So people must protect water from contamination.

About 71 percent of the world’s surface is watercovered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all the world’s water. Only 3.5 percent is freshwater and renewable water, and of them, snowcapped peaks and icecaps of the polar regions hold 68 percent and aquifers, about 30 percent. Hence, only 0.5 percent of the world’s surface water is fresh.

As Myanmar has an abundant array of watercourses, lakes and springs it holds 1.7 percent of the world's freshwater resources. So it can be called a country with plenty of freshwater. Some water scarce countries have to apply the desalination method or the wastewater treatment method.

Although the country is rich in water resources, some areas, especially certain dry regions in central Myanmar, are facing water shortages in summer. Moreover, insufficient water supply for farming, the main business of rural areas, has caused social problems.

There is a Myanmar saying that goes by “merits gained from water supply”. Again, there is another saying “Gold is not wanted but water is essential,” so we need to value water like gold.  In accord with one objective “To develop the socioeconomic life of the people to ensure prosperity and food sufficiency of the country,” the SAC is paying attention to water supply for the public and conservation of water resources. The State is seeking many ways to supply water such as connecting pipelines from spring water, sinking tube wells, implementing riverwater pumping projects and building underground water dams. In the coastal regions with more rainfalls, freshwater is abundant only in monsoon and it is scarce in summer. To solve the problem, rainwater must be stored as much as possible while underground water must be tapped and used efficiently. Likewise, for agricultural purposes, irrigation water or underground water should be used as necessarily as possible. Water must be used efficiently but must not be wasted. Enough water supply must be ensured as a national task for beings.

Water is essential for humans as well as crucial for farming and transport. Water transport is effective and speedy, so it is necessary to conserve rivers and creeks. 

Water scarcity stems from global warming caused by climate change, no lush and green forests, deforestation and environmental degradation. They are also related to each other and there is action and reaction. Excessive wood cutting led to bad climate, draught, scarce water. As climate is created by the nature, we need to focus on establishing trees and forests for environmental greening. Conservation of watershed areas and forests will reduce water scarcity and contribute to climate and health.

To address climate change and waterrelated problems, our country has established the National Level Environmental Conservation and Climate Change Central Committee, the National Level Water Resource Committee, and the National Disaster Management Committee, and is working with relevant ministries and organizations, international organizations and NGOs. 

As impacts of global climate change are increasingly being suffered, it is necessary for all to be prepared for reduction of their consequences. In adopting climate and waterrelated policies, emphasis is to be placed on water. Water resources are an effective weapon against climate change.  Therefore, it is important to find ways and means for sustainable and cheap water supply and sanitation and utilize them.

Efforts must be made to promote awareness, knowledge, technologies, cooperation, discussions and partnership for sustainable water utilization among water users. The public has been requested to save water and electricity, to participate in planting trees for environmental conservation and not to litter with a view to conserving water resources and environment.

In taking measures for development of the water sector by related ministries and organizations under the leadership of the government in accordance with the theme of World Water Day (2023), accelerating change to solve the water & sanitation issue, it is important to cooperate with friendly countries and local and  international non governmental organizations, to take measures to supply sufficient water to all living things in all regions as a national duty and to cooperate in implementation of the sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations as tasks related to water play a major role in development of world countries and to make concerted efforts to achieve desired goals in all sectors in accordance with the national development motto of the country, "Keep moving forward to achieve our goal."

Then, the Senior General presented prizes to the first, second and third prize winners in the article writing competition com-memorating the World Water Day (2023).

Afterward, Vice Chairman of the national level committee Deputy Prime Minister Union Minister for Transportation and Communication Admiral Tin Aung San presented prizes to winners of consolation prizes in the competition.

Then, the Senior General and participants enjoyed the video clip commemorating the World Water Day (2023) and posed for documentary photographs.

Afterward, the Senior General and participants view the exhibits displayed in exhibition booths marking the event.

The ceremony was organized with the three objectives to raise the public awareness about activities related to the water sector carried out by waterrelated ministries and organizations and ways and means to solve water issues and to highlight the participation of Myanmar in the international water rela-ted activities to propagate knowledge to  waterrelated individuals and to inspire their cooperation.