Myanmar: Urban Development and Water Sector Assessment, Strategy, and Road Map


This publication documents the current assessment and strategic investment priorities for the urban development and water sector in Myanmar. It highlights sector performance, priority development constraints, plans and strategies, past ADB support and experience, support of other development partners, and future ADB support strategy.

The document assesses the key development needs of urban development and the water sector in Myanmar, and outlines key ADB initiatives to improve access of the population, including poor urban communities, to basic urban services. The main urban thrusts of ADB's investments program are rehabilitation and expansion of water supply, sanitation, solid-waste management, drainage, and other basic urban infrastructure in the main cities, complemented by capacity development for urban planning and improved performance in urban services.

Key sector development needs

Myanmar’s poverty and low health indicators underscore the urgent need to improve basic public services. Only a small percentage of the population in Yangon receives treated water, and even then for only part of the day. Elsewhere in the country, water, if supplied at all, is untreated. Diarrhea-related diseases--including cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and viral hepatitis--occur widely and are spread through unsanitary urban environments and contaminated water. Vector-borne diseases such as dengue, hemorrhagic fever, and malaria are common, together with cases of Chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis.

Urban water supply needs include improvements in system capacity, water quality, and coverage. Even in Yangon, only an estimated 40%-50% of the population is served by a municipal piped water system. There is no piped supply provision for most of the highly populated resettlement areas, informal settlements, and slums or squatter areas. Nnonrevenue water is estimated at 40% or worse. System pressures are low, and leakage will increase as water pressures improve. An NRW reduction program will need to include capacity building of the water supply departments so that they operate on business principles, with a consumer service focus and the necessary performance information.

Effective storm water drainage systems should form the basis of urban environmental infrastructure. In the absence of a working sewerage system, the urban drainage system acts as a de  facto open sewer. Raw sewage and septic tank effluent flow through the roadside drains. Existing conditions in urban areas in Myanmar create a direct public health risk, with stagnant wastewater serving as breeding places for mosquitoes and other sources of disease. A well-functioning network of interconnected drains, designed with appropriate slopes and discharging to a safe disposal area, is essential.


  • Sector Assessment: Context and Strategic Issues
    • Introduction
    • The Country Context
    • Overview of the Urban Development and Water Sector
    • Core Sector Issues, Causes, and Effects
  • Sector Strategy
    • Government Sector Strategy, Policy, and Plans
    • ADB’s Earlier Sector Support Program and Experience
    • Other Development Partner Support
    • ADB’s Sector Forward Strategy
  • Sector Road Map and Results Framework
  • Appendixes
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