Improving Groundwater Management in Myanmar through Capacity Building

Monday, December 4, 2017
101 AB (Music City Center)
Michael Grzybowski , Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Melissa Lenczewski, Ph.D. , Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Yee Yee Oo , Physics, Mandalay University, Mandalay, Myanmar
Luis Marin , Instituto de Geofisica, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico, Mexico

Myanmar is a former military state known as Burma, which was closed for the last half century and recently opened in 2011. Myanmar has been developing fast and the lack of access to basic information on hydrogeology and urban services has resulted in pollution of their shallow aquifer systems. An additional issue is there are no formally trained hydrogeologists within the country. Thus, the objective of this research project was to conduct a hydrogeological reconnaissance and to take the first steps towards capacity building in hydrogeology. The City of Mandalay is located within the flood plain of the Irrawaddy River. The inhabitants of this area depend primarily on both dug and tube wells as their source of water (drinking, cooking, and washing). Many of these wells are located in close proximity to anthropogenic sources of contamination, such as wastewater. Thus, an understanding of the hydrogeology and the interaction between this alluvial aquifer and the Irrawaddy River is critical in order to better manage their groundwater. The sand and gravel alluvial aquifer has a high hydraulic conductivity (K) based on three slug tests and numerical modeling using the analytical element model, GFLOW (Haitjema, 1995). The ranges in K are from 2 meters/day to 67 meters/day. Thus, the first task was to develop a conceptual hydrogeological model in order to have a basic understanding of the local hydrogeology, and delivering it through open-source platforms that would allow our colleagues in Myanmar to build on it. Through a grant from the National Groundwater Association’s Developing Nations Fund, a two week workshop was conducted. Open-source software such as QGIS, GFLOW, and Topodrive were used as potential tools that can help facilitate the development of a capacity building program in hydrogeology.
Michael Grzybowski, Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Michael is a graduate student in geology at Northern Illinois University, focusing in hydrogeology. He received his B.S in Environmental science and water resources from Oklahoma State University, and worked at the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.


Melissa Lenczewski, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Melissa Lenczewski is an Associate Professor of Geomicrobiology and Organic Geochemistry in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences and the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Illinois University. She has substantial expertise with methods such as molecular techniques and PFLA techniques for detection of microorganisms in soil and water. She also has expertise in detection of simple organic compounds in water. Lenczewski conducted research on groundwater in the Yucatan Peninsula.


Yee Yee Oo, Physics, Mandalay University, Mandalay, Myanmar
Yee Yee Oo is a physics professor at Mandalay University and formerly at Yadanabon University. She is currently conducting water quality research in Mandalay and investigating different problems associated with the cities water resources.


Luis Marin, Instituto de Geofisica, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico, Mexico
Luis Marin is senior researcher at the Natural Resources Department of the Geophysical Institute of National University of Mexico with more than 20 years focusing in hydrogeologic studies in Mexico.


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