“Navigation with Nature – Adaptive Prosperous Confluence of Chindwin & Ayeyarwady”
By Aung Thura Hein
Confluences are important features of river networks providing diverse flow conditions that influence physical and biological processes. Within the fluvial network, we find the confluences as particular areas characterized by a great ecological value where the flow dynamic and the bed morphology are very influenced by local patterns. Anthropogenic alterations to river systems are often in direct conflict with fluvial and ecological processes. Likewise, the confluence of Chindwin and Ayeyarwady also play an important part in adjoining two Myanmar major river basin of Chindwin (114,112km2) and Upper Ayeyarwady (193,000km2).
The constraint on the navigation bottle neck in the confluence of Ayeyarwady and Chindwin has increased obviously in recent few years. Together with the dynamic features of two major large rivers; sedimentation reduces the depth (free flow) of water and, in tandem with changes in the course of flow, destabilizes the channel and thus the confluence made a challenge in navigation aspect to the rapidly growing upstream communities and cities. Monywa with a population of nearly 200,000 and a major city in Chindwin river basin gets these negative impacts in high local commodity prices as the river transport from deltaic area has to sail up to Myinmu (85 km) from the confluence and then the logistic mode changed as road transport to reach Monywa via Myinmu as transit port. Also in the upstream villages and the community around the confluence area, the dynamic effects of riverine conditions make some social and environmental issues that are related to local livelihoods such as agricultural land loss by erosion, settlement in unstable environment, flooding, etc.
The solution will focus on the basic natural understanding of the confluence area and its effects on the navigation bottleneck. In finding the major cause of sediment load in two rivers, the study will drive to come out a sustainable solution that based on nature driven measures which could be implemented by river training authorities such as DWIR. Together with socio-economic impact analysis affecting to the different levels of stakeholders, the solution that points on healthy river landscape provided to different river functions and users would intend to help the community to adapt with the nature. The context will also look into cross sectoral perspectives on the cause of the problem and finally link them into water policy and existing laws, rules and regulations on safe river corridors.