Field Diary: Piped Water Supply in Mandalay, Myanmar

Water Supply in Mandalay
Field Diary: Piped Water Supply in Mandalay, Myanmar

To learn more about this International Growth Centre (IGC) grant funded project on ‘Understanding Demand and Funding for Piped Water Supply in Mandalay’, click here.

Mandalay: The Water Context

Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar. It sits on the east bank of the Ayeyawaddy River, in the northern part of the country. The city’s water supply is largely from ground water and is met partially via the city’s centralized piped water supply system.

Water supply has worsened in recent years as fresh and groundwater sources used by households that remain unconnected to municipal supply have become contaminated by sewage discharge, and industrial and construction waste. Moreover, Mandalay’s current water tariff structure is simplistic and fairly arbitrary. Many consumers are either not monitored or monitoring is not reliable, leading to mounting financial losses for the city.

Purpose of the Field Mission

Existing knowledge of water service in Mandalay is very limited in terms of network coverage, connection types, and socio-demographic profiles of service subscribers. Water demand and supply (including metering) data are also incomplete or missing. As part of the second milestone of the project, we met officials from the water and sanitation and revenue departments to gain a better understanding of water service in the city. We also conducted training of our enumerators and a pilot before the launch of the survey.

Meeting the Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC)

Soon after landing in Mandalay we met our local expert, a civil engineer who would support us with his local and technical knowledge. The following days were dedicated to conducting In-Depth Interviews (IDI) with MCDC officials from the revenue and water & sanitation departments. These interactions helped us understand the challenges they face, and their expectations from the study. We also obtained insights that will be critical at the analytical stage and for the design of recommendations.

Kick-Starting the Survey and Next Steps

We dedicated the second week to providing training to the team of 18 enumerators through an intensive 5-day training session. After this, we conducted the pilot on which allowed us to test the digital questionnaire. We concluded this process by debriefing with the team about their experience and addressing their comments.

This field mission provided valuable insights for the next steps of the project, and enabled the launch of the survey in Mandalay. Data collection will be running over the next 4 weeks. Post this, our data analysis will pave the way towards designing solutions for the Mandalay City Development Committee.

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Mael Balac
Mael is interested in policy analysis, statistical modelling, international trade and value chain assessment.