UPCOMING PUBLIC SEMINAR: "Water Scarcity and Disaster Recovery in Hakha Town, Chin State, Myanmar: Technical Problem or Governance Challenge? [5 July 2017]


14:00-16:00, Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

Co-organized by the Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS) and the Master of Arts in International Development Studies of the Faculty of Political Science Chulalongkorn University.

This event will be broadcast on Facebook live: www.facebook.com/CSDSChula/


Hakha town is the capital of Chin State, Myanmar, located in the mountainous Northwest of the country. Chin State is one of the poorest states in Myanmar, including in terms of economy, basic infrastructure, and access to health care and education. This reflects a lack of long-term investment in basic services, as well as being the product of Myanmar’s long-standing conflict.

In recent years, the town’s population has faced growing water insecurity. This has created great hardships for the local population, especially in the dry season. For those who cannot access water from private springs, or afford to buy water, they must queue sometimes for hours to collect relatively small amounts of water. This situation has caused discontent towards the Municipal, State and Union level government, and has also on occasion caused conflict amongst the local population themselves.

Compounding the difficulties faced by Hakha’s population, in June 2015, Hakha town suffered a major landslide. As a result, over 4000 people living in at-risk places were moved, many permanently to a new settlement. In the settlement, the government has provided land or houses, yet basic services including water and schools were lagging behind. In the longer-term, the resettled people, who are mostly farmers, are uncertain about how they can make a living without access to farming land, and a perceived limited support from the government.

Research presented at the seminar will show how water insecurity is the product of physical, social and political processes that are inter-related, including: rising water demand due to a growing population without systematic town planning; deforestation of the surrounding watershed which has reduced water supply; and underinvestment in water supply infrastructure. The seminar will explore the underlying causes of these dynamics, as a basis for deliberating approaches to ensure equitable and reliable water access for all of Hakha’s residents.

Seminar speakers

  • “Water insecurity in Hakha Town, Chin State, Myanmar” by Asst. Prof. Dr. Carl Middleton (Director of CSDS) and Orapan Pratomlek (CSDS project coordinator)
  • “Prospects for improved water security: Municipal water, watershed protection, and urban planning” Van Bawi Lian (CSDS researcher)
  • “Lessons learned from landslide disaster recovery in Hakha town, and how to strengthen resilience” by Hlawn Tin Cuai (Master Student of Architecture (IMARCH), Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University; and ex- Operation Manager of Hakha Rescue Committee, September 2015 to February 2016)
  • Discussant: Pastor Lai Cung (Hakhathar Baptist Church)
  • Chair: Asst. Prof. Dr. Naruemon Thabchumpon (Director of MAIDS Program, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University)
  • Opening remarks: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ake Tangsupvattana, Dean of Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University (t.b.c.)

For further details on CSDS’s research on Water governance and access to water in Hakha Town, Chin State, Myanmar, visit here: http://www.csds-chula.org/water-security-in-hakha/

This research is supported by Chula UniSearch under the Human Security Cluster.