On Monday the 19th of March 2018, a demo session took place with our lead partner, the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River systems (DWIR) in Yangon. This directorate, under the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC), is the lead partner of VPdelta/TU Delft in the Partners for Water project “Leapfrogging delta management in Myanmar”. This project is all about demonstrating innovative ways of monitoring and data collection that are very useful for the challenges that Myanmar is facing.
At DWIR a selection of VPdelta start-ups/SME’s demonstrated their results and activities of the last three months and discussed the results with the DWIR staff and the Deputy Director General, U Ko Ko Oo. In the past three months, many innovations were shown.
In February, a measuring campaign for the Pan Hlaing sluice and the Nyaung Done area was done by SHORE Monitoring & Research. SHORE installed high-tech equipment on a local boat to measure bathymetry, depth and salinity in the two project areas and mapped the area with the use of innovative drone technology. By combining advanced equipment and local expertise and equipment, they managed to collect very valuable data on a relatively low-cost base. The measuring campaign was done in close cooperation with young staff of relevant departments, the local university MMU and two Dutch students to safeguard the transfer of knowledge so that the local staff can continue to use the technology. The campaign was received with great interest from the departments in Myanmar.
Besides the results of SHORE, also the results of the start-up Skygeo were demonstrated. Skygeo did a first pilot to use their Radar Remote Sensing technology for monitoring at the ‘dancing rivers’ system of Myanmar. Their results demonstrated the dynamics of a part of the Ayeyarwady river and provided insight in the land loss (erosion) and land gain (sedimentation) along the river. Getting insight into the river system is crucial for DWIR since bank erosion is a very big challenge not only for the Ayeyarwady river but also for other rivers in Myanmar. Therefore, Skygeo will conduct another survey for an area of the Sittaung river in order to gain more understanding of the entire river system.
Related to the dynamics of the river system, Mattijn van Hoek of HKV Lijn in Water was in Yangon to show the case of the Dutch Wadden sea on keeping the waterways navigable by using high-level sensors. This very innovative maintenance management system ensures the navigability of the waterways by constantly monitoring the depth. This system is highly efficient but extremely costly. In Myanmar HKV tested low-cost sensors which can be included in such a waterway management information system. This received great interest by DWIR since they cope with the big challenge to make the waterways navigable for inland waterway transport. By demonstrating this system, Mattijn showed ways in which by low-cost sensors one can improve the navigability of the rivers.
Another start-up/SME that showed his findings during this meeting was Gijs Simons of FutureWater who showcased his rainfall map of Myanmar. By combining the local dataset and remote sensing data, FutureWater developed a more accurate rainfall precipitation map for Myanmar. This is especially of interest for the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology and the Hydrology Branch of Irrigation department. FutureWater and HKV Lijn in Water will jointly give a three-days training at the Yangon Technological University starting on Wednesday the 21st of March – for the university staff and students as well as the staff of several departments in Myanmar.
Next to the start-ups, also the TU Delft student Esther Heineke showed her initial research results that she conducted for another VPdelta start-up, Mobile Water Management. This start-up has developed a mobile application for measuring different water levels. Esther installed the first gauges in Myanmar and will install more of them during her research period. By taking pictures with your smartphone, you can automatically measure the water levels. This was received with great interest in Myanmar because it is easy, cheap and a reliable way to collect accurate data on water levels.
It was a very nice demo session in which we had a full room of Dutch experts as well as Myanmar experts. The resulting dialogue and interaction was remarkable and very valuable for the next phase of the Partners for Water project. Already halfway the project, so many activities happened and all of the involved start-ups in the project already have demonstrated their technologies and services. As VPdelta we would like to thank the Dutch professionals for their presence and contribution and we are very happy to see the interest and commitment of our Myanmar partners. We are excited to demonstrate and showcase more of our innovations in Myanmar.