Nearly Half of Yangon’s Water Supply Lost Daily Before Reaching Residents

By Thazin Hlaing 21 March 2018

YANGON — Some 100 million gallons of water, which is nearly half of the daily amount supplied by the Yangon municipality to its residents, is wasted daily in the supply process, said the water and sanitation branch of the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).

While the municipality supplies 205 gallons of water each day, nearly 100 million gallons goes to waste daily because of shortcomings in the water delivery system and the illegal piping of water, officer U Aung Hsan Win of the branch told The Irrawaddy.

“Currently, the population of Yangon is between 5 and 6 million. We provide 205 million gallons of water per day, but people only get about 100 million gallons. This means that only 50 to 60 percent of Yangon residents get water,” said U Aung Hsan Win.

“Some businessmen illegally pipe the water supplied by us, as we charge differently for industrial use and household use,” he added.

This problem exists not only in Yangon but also in Mandalay, said U Win Myo Thu, the managing director of Economically Progressive Ecosystem Development Group (EcoDev), which advocates for environmental governance.

“There are many causes including management and technology problems. We may need millions of dollars to fix this,” he said.

He also suggested that YCDC design a plan to meet the growing demand for water in the future, as Yangon’s population is expected to grow to 10 million by 2040.

“We are checking non-revenue water (NRW) with the technical assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” said U Aung Hsan Win.

NRW is water that has been produced and is lost before it reaches the customers either because of leaks, theft or metering inaccuracies.

The Yangon municipality has carried out NRW pilot projects in Mayangone, South Okkalapa, Insein and Yankin townships so far, he said.

“And we are now conducting it in North Okkalapa Township,” he said.

Joe Phyu, Phu Gyi, Hlawga, and Nga Moe Yeik reservoirs supplies 185 million gallons, and 20 million more gallons come from artesian wells, according to YCDC.

According to the Yangon Region Parliament, YCDC spent more than 64 billion kyats (US$47 million) to supply water in the 2016-17 fiscal year.