Dams in Myanmar

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There are almost 200 large Dams in Myanmar.[1][2][3] Myanmar (Burma) has a large hydroelectric power potential of 39,000 megawatts (52,000,000 hp), although the economical exploitable potential is about 37,000 megawatts (50,000,000 hp). Between 1990 and 2002, the country tripled its installed capacity of hydro plants, increasing from 253 megawatts (339,000 hp) to 745 megawatts (999,000 hp).[4] Total installed capacity in 2010 is at least 2,449 megawatts (3,284,000 hp) MW, 6% of potential. Several large dams are planned to increase future hydro utilization.[5]


Although Myanmar is underdeveloped in terms of its hydro-power potential it is not for lack of trying. The agency charged with expanding Hydro project is the State Peace and Development Council and the current chairman of Sr-Gen Than Shwe strives to build more dams. Shwe who hails from the Kyaukse region, through which the Zawgyi River flows is widely rumored to believe himself a reincarnation of King Anawrahta (r. 1044-1077).[6] During his reign King Anawrahta was a prolific dam- and canal-builder, especially along the Zawgyi river. He viewed his hydro projects as atonement for killing his foster-brother Sokkate.[6]

The total electricity generated by Myanmar in 2002 was 6,614 gigawatt-hours (23,810 TJ), consisting of oil (612 GWh, 9%); gas (3770 GWh, 57%); and hydro (2232 GWh, 34%).[4]

Myanmar's hydro power development activities and plans include five-year short term plans and a 30-year strategic plan. This involves generating power for domestic use and exporting to neighboring countries, especially China, Thailand and India. Total planned hydro power development in Myanmar is 14,600 MW.[7]

Though the twelve large planned hydroelectic dams larger than 1,000 MW get much media attention, there are at least another twelve in the 100 - 1000 MW range and at least 27 smaller microhydroprojects smaller than 100 MW. The rest of the dams are generally lower height irrigation structures.

At least 45 Chinese Multi-National Corporations have been involved in approximately 63 hydropower projects in Myanmar, including several related substation and transmission line projects. The country's State Peace and Development Council Chairman Than Shwe met with Chinese representatives at the Shweli I Dam.[1]

Map outlining the states and regions of Myanmar
Exploitable Hydropower Potential of Burma[1] [8]
State/Region Number of Sites MW]
MyanmarKachin.pngKachin State 39 2,061
MyanmarKayah.pngKayah State 7 3,909
MyanmarKayin.pngKayin State 21 17,021
Chin State 22 1,312
MyanmarSagaing.pngSagaing Region 21 2,399
Taninthayidivision.png Tanintharyi Region 14 692
MyanmarBago.png Bago Region 11 387
MyanmarMagway.png Magwe Region 8 123
MyanmarMandalay.pngMandalay Region 17 3,482
MyanmarMon.png Mon State 10 292
MyanmarRakhine.pngRakhine State 14 247
MyanmarShan.pngShan State 83 7,699
Total: 12 267 39,624

An Asian Development Bank’s October 2012 assessment of the energy sector in Myanmar reported on the country’s abundant hydropower potential, with 92 potential large hydropower projects already identified. [9]

Major Dams[edit]

Salween river[edit]

Salween River downstream of Weigyi Dam site
Salween River and watershed

Seven dams have been proposed for the Salween River. The largest of these hydro power projects is the 7,100 megawatts (9,500,000 hp) (MW) Tasang Dam on the Salween River, which is to be integrated into the Asian Development Bank’s Greater Mekong Sub-region Power Grid. A ground breaking ceremony for the Tasang Dam was held in March 2007, and China Gezhouba Group Co. (CGGC) started preliminary construction shortly after. China’s involvement in the damming of the Salween River is not limited to the Tasang project.

In 2006, the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sinohydro for the US$1 billion, 1,200 MW Hat Gyi Dam along the Thai border. In April 2007, Farsighted Group, now known as Hanergy, and China Gold Water Resources Co. signed MoUs for an additional 2,400 MW hydropower project on the upper Salween, an area which Yunnan Power Grid Co. reportedly surveyed in 2006.

In April 2008, Sinohydro, China Southern Power Grid Co., and China Three Gorges Project Co. signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement for the development of the hydro power potential of the Salween River. Despite China’s involvement in these large-scale dams on the Salween, most of the electricity is destined for export to neighboring Thailand.

However, In May 2009, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao halted the construction of the Liuku dam on the Salween River in China’s Yunnan province, calling for more thorough impact assessments.[10]

Shweli River[edit]

The 1,420 megawatts (1,900,000 hp) Shweli I, II, III Cascade, in Shan State near the Chinese border, has also received significant Chinese support. Yunnan Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Co. (YMEC) began work on the Shweli I Hydropower Plant in February 2004 and, following the government's inability to secure funding, joined with Yunnan Huaneng Lancang River Hydropower Development Co. and Yunnan Power Grid Co. to create the Yunnan Joint Power Development Company (YUPD) in August 2006. For more information regarding the Salween River, see [A 1]

A few months later, YUPD assumed an 80% share in the project after creating the Shweli River I Power Station Co. together with Myanmar, turned the Shweli I dam into a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) project, and increased the installed capacity from 400 to 600 MW. At least two Sinohydro subsidiaries have provided construction services for the project, and Sichuan Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Co. and Ningbo Huyong Electric Power Material Co. have signed US$ multimillion contracts for electricity transmission cables and towers. The Shweli I Hydropower Plant is slated for completion by June 2009, and was half complete as of May 2007.

N'Mai, N’Mai, Mali and Irrawaddy Rivers[edit]

In Kachin State, several Chinese MNCs are involved in the construction of seven large dams along the N’Mai Hka, Mali Hka, and Irrawaddy River, with a combined installed capacity of 13,360 megawatts (17,920,000 hp) In 2007, China Power Investment Co. signed agreements with Burmese authorities to finance all seven dams, as well as with China Southern Power Grid Co. Yunnan Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Co. (YMEC) signed an MoU with Myanmar's Ministry of Electric Power in 2006 to develop the hydropower potential of the N’Mai Hka; however details about this arrangement remain unclear. Changjiang Institute of Surveying, Planning,Design & Research has also completed a feasibility study at the confluence of the N’Mai Hka and Mali Hka.


In western Myanmar, just inside the Indian border, runs the Chindwin River, where several potential dam sites have been identified that are likely to service export-oriented hydro-power plants. The sites include Thamanthi, Mawlaik, Homalin, and Shwezaye ([10]).

In August 2001, the Kansai Electric Power Company, or KEPCO, contracted with Myanmar to provide technical assistance for developing 12 hydro-power plants, including at least five sites on the Sittang River Yenwe, Khabaung, Pyu, Bogata and Shwe Gin.[6]

China CAMC Engineering Co. has been involved in the surveying and implementation of hydropower projects in the region. The 790 MW Yeywa Dam in Mandalay Region, which began construction in 2006, is also being financed and constructed by several Chinese MNCs, including China Gezhouba Group Co.,Sinohydro, China International Trust and Investment Co. (CITIC) Technology Co., ChinaNational Electric Equipment Co., China National Heavy Machinery Co., and Hunan Savoo Oversea Water and Electric Engineering Co. Additional financial backing for the project is being provided by the China EXIM Bank.

In addition to the Yeywa, Shweli and Hat Gyi projects, Sinohydro China’s largest dam company and its subsidiaries have been involved in the Kun Creek-2, Kyauk, Monechaung,Nam Hkam Hka,Paunglaung (upper & lower), Tarpein I, Thapanseik I, II, III, and Zawgyi I Dams. As with the Yeywa project, both CITIC and China EXIM Bank provided investment and financial backing for the Thapanseik Dam.

The Yunnan Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Co. (YMEC) has been one of the most active Chinese companies in Myanmar's hydropower sector. Since the 1990s, YMEC has been involved in more than 25 projects of varying size, including the Ching Hkran, Chinshwehaw, Dattawgyaing, Hopin, Kunhein, Kunlon, Kyaing Ton, Kyaukme, Laiva, Mepan, Nam Hkam Hka, Nam Myaw, Nam Wop, Nancho, Paunglaung, Upper Paunglaung, Shweli I, II, III Cascade, Watwon, Zaungtu, Zawgyi I and II, Zichaung, and N’Mai Hka River hydropower projects, as well as the Rangoon Dagon Substation. The extent of YMEC involvement in these projects, several of which are completed, is unclear, but appears to involve construction and some financing.[A 2]

Lists of dams[edit]


List of operating hydroelectric dams in Myanmar
Name # Impounds MW rating Commission Location
Shweli I Dam[11] 1 Shweli River 600 2008-12 Shan State, near Man Tat village
(Palaung)23°39′11″N 97°28′52″E / 23.65306°N 97.48111°E / 23.65306; 97.48111[12]
Zawgyi I Dam 2 Zawgyi River 18 1997-5-31 Shan State, Yaksauk Township 21°33′53″N 96°52′25″E / 21.5646°N 96.8735°E / 21.5646; 96.8735
Zawgyi II Dam 3 Zawgyi River 12 1998-11 Shan State
Yeywa Dam[13] 4 Myitnge River 790 2010 21°41′20″N 96°25′17″E / 21.68889°N 96.42139°E / 21.68889; 96.42139
Dapein I 5 Dapein River 168 2005
Dapein II 6 Dapein River 240 2006
Upper Paunglaung Dam[14] 7 Paunglaung River 140 2009-12
Lower Paunglaung Dam 8 Paunglaung River 280 2005
Zaungtu Dam 9 Bago River 20 2000-3 Bago Region
II 10 48 1960, 1992-8 Karenni State
Sedawgyi 11 Chaungmagyi River 25 1989-6 Mandalay Region, Mogok
Mogok[15] 12 4 yes Mandalay Region
Zawgyt (1)[15] 13 18 yes Shan State
Kattalu (Kyunsu)[15] 14 .15 yes Tanintharyi Region
Hopin Dam[15] 15 1.26 yes
Kunhing[15] 16 .15 yes Shan State
21°18′0″N 98°26′0″E / 21.30000°N 98.43333°E / 21.30000; 98.43333
Namlat (Kyaington)[15] 17 .48 yes Shan State
Chinshwehaw Dam[15] 18 0.1 yes Shan State
Kinda Dam[15][16] 19 Panlaung river 56 1985 Mandalay Reg.. Thazi Township
Selu[15] 20 .024 Shan State
Malikyun (Palaw)[15] 21 .192 Tanintharyi Region
Matupi (Namlaung)[15] 22 .2 Chin State
Maing Lar[15] 23 .06 Shan State
Baluchaung I [15] 24 28 Kayah State
Ching Hkran Dam[15] 25 2.52 Kachin State
Laiva Dam[15] 26 0.96 - 0.6 Chin State
Nam Wop Dam[15] 27 3 Shan State
Nammyao (Lashio) Dam[15] 28 4 Shan State
Chinshwehaw (Extension) Dam[15] 29 .2 Shan State
Kunlon Dam[15] 30 Salween River 0.5 Shan State
Zi Chaung Dam[15] 31 1.26 Sagaing Region
Nam Hkam Hka Dam
32 5 Kachin State (22°17′0″N 97°40′0″E / 22.28333°N 97.66667°E / 22.28333; 97.66667)
Nam Suang Ngaung
33 4 Shan State
Lahe[15] 34 .05 Sagaing Region
Tui swang
35 .2 Chin State
Che Chaung
36 .2
Thapanseik Dam 37 30 2002-6 Sagaing Region
Lawpita Dam 39 192 1992 Kayah state
Monechaung[12] 40 75 2004 Magway Region (20°28′43″N 94°15′14″E / 20.4786°N 94.254°E / 20.4786; 94.254)
Shwegyin Dam 41 Shwegyin River 75 2011 Bago Region
Total 40 Hydro plants 3,048.5 MW commission All Myanmar
List of Planned Hydroelectric Dams in Myanmar
Name # Impounds Capacity (MW) Commission Location
Myitsone Dam 1 Irawaddy River 3600 2017 est. 25°41′23″N 97°31′4″E / 25.68972°N 97.51778°E / 25.68972; 97.51778
Chibwe Dam[12] 2 N'Mai River 2000 25°53′36″N 98°7′49″E / 25.89333°N 98.13028°E / 25.89333; 98.13028
Pashe Dam[12] 3 N'Mai River 1600 26°29′0″N 98°18′59″E / 26.48333°N 98.31639°E / 26.48333; 98.31639
Lakin Dam[12] 4 N'Mai River 1400 Lakin26°35′45″N 98°24′22″E / 26.59583°N 98.40611°E / 26.59583; 98.40611
Phizaw Dam[12] 5 N'Mai River 1500
Kaunglanphu Dam[12] 6 N'Mai River 1700
Laiza Dam[12] 7 Mali River 1560 26°32′11″N 97°44′34″E / 26.53639°N 97.74278°E / 26.53639; 97.74278
Chibwe Creek Dam[12] 8 N'Mai River (Chibwe Creek) 99 25°53′40″N 98°8′40″E / 25.89444°N 98.14444°E / 25.89444; 98.14444
Shwe Kyin Dam 10 Shwe Kyin Chaung
75 17°58′24″N 96°56′15″E / 17.97333°N 96.93750°E / 17.97333; 96.93750
Tarpein I [17]Tarpien I [18] 13 Tarpein River 240
Tarpein II Dam 14 Tarpein River 168
Nam Myaw Dam 16 4
Shweli II Dam 17 Shweli River 460
Shweli III Dam 18 Shweli River 360
Upper Thanlwin-
Kunlong Dams
19 Salween River 2400 23°31′54″N 98°36′40″E / 23.53167°N 98.61111°E / 23.53167; 98.61111
Mepan (Meipan) Dam 22 1.26
Kunhein (Kunheng) Dam 23 0.15
Kyaing Ton (Kengtung) Dam 24 0.48
TaSang Dam 26 Salween River 7110 20°27′23″N 98°39′0″E / 20.45639°N 98.65000°E / 20.45639; 98.65000
Kengtawng Dam 27 54
Kyaukme Dam 30 4
Watwon Dam 31 0.5
Dattawgyaing Dam 33 36
Kyeeon Kyeewa Dam 39 75
Buywa Dam 40 60
Nancho Dam 41 40
Paung Laung Dam[14] 44 280
Thaukyegat I Dam 45 150 Kayin State
Thaukyegat II Dam 46 120 Kayin State
Kapaung Dam 47 30 Bago Region
Kunchaung Dam 48 60 Bago Region
Yenwe Dam 49 25 Bago Region
Kyauk Naga Dam 51 75
Hatgyi Dam[19] 52 Salween River 1360
Dagwin dam[6][20] 53 Salween River 792
Tamanthi[21][22] 54 Chindwin River 1200
Weigyi[6] 56 Salween River 4540 18°37′47″N 97°21′39″E / 18.62972°N 97.36083°E / 18.62972; 97.36083
Mobye Dam 57 Balu Chaung River 168
Datawcha Dam 58 Balu Chaung River 28
Tha Htay Chaung[23] 59 111 Thandwe Township
Ann Chaung[23] 60 Ann River 10 Ann Township
Sai Din Dam[23][24] 61 Sai Din Waterfall 76.5 2014 est. Buthidaung
Laymro Dam[23] 62 Laymro River 500
Shwesayay Dam[21] 63 Chindwin River 600
Taninthayi[25] 65 600
Htamanthi[26] 66 1200
Tajan[27] 67
Nam Kok 68 42,100 to 150
Bilin 85 280 Mon State
Phyu 87 65 Bago Region
Bawgata 88 160 Kayin State
Ywathit Dam 89 600 to 4,500 Kayah State

Irrigation only[edit]

List of Hydroelectric Dams in Myanmar
Name # impounds irrigated area Coordinates Pa Del Dam ( ပဒဲေရေလွာင္တမံ) 1 irrigation Aung Lan Township , Magway Division Chaungmagyi Dam 1 3,000 acres (12 km2)
Kataik Dam 2 irrigation
Ngalaik Dam 3 irrigation &
industrial water
Pyinmana Township
Yezin Dam 4 irrigation 19°51′54″N 96°16′59″E / 19.86500°N 96.28306°E / 19.86500; 96.28306

In addition there were at least 10 major irrigation dams completed during the period between 1962 and 1988.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mon Youth Progressive Organization. 2007. In the Balance: Salween Dams Threaten Downstream Communities in Burma; Shan Sapawa. 2006. Warning Signs:An Update on Plans to Dam the Salween in Burma’s Shan State; Karen Rivers Watch. 2004. Damming at Gunpoint:Burma Atrocities Pave the Way for Salween Dams in Karen State; & Salween Watch, Southeast Asia Rivers Network & Center for Social Development Studies at Chulalongkorn University. 2004. The Salween Under Threat:Damming the Longest Free River in Southeast Asia. All available at [1] 25 ‘缅甸萨尔温江战略合作框架协议签署 (Salween River Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement Signed).’ 金融界, 28 April 2008.[2] 26 ‘激战瑞丽江——水电十四局瑞丽江电站截流施工纪实 (Shweli River Fierce Battle-Shweli Dam 14th Bureau Damming Construction).’ Sinohydro Website, 26 February 2007. [3] For photographs of construction at the Shweli I Dam site see ‘瑞丽江项目部图库 (Shweli River Project Bureau Photographs).’ Sinohydro’s 14th Engineering Bureau Dali Sub-bureau Website, 29 June 2007.[4] 27 ‘中国在缅甸投资的首个水电项目成功截流 (China’s First Hydropower Investment in Burma Successfully Dammed).’ China Electricity Council, 13 December 2006. [5]; For more information regarding the Shweli Cascade see Palaung Youth Network Group. 2007. Under the Boot. Available in English and Chinese at [6] Sinohydro’s 14th Bureau Dali Sub-bureau Website
  2. ^ ‘瑞丽江电站胜利实现截流 (Shweli River Hydropower Station Triumphantly Blocks Water).’ Sinohydro’s 14th Engineering Bureau Dali Sub-bureau Website, 11 December 2006. [7] 29 ‘Myanmar Installs More Transmission Lines for New Power Plant.’ Xinhua General News Service, 5 July 2007; ‘About Huyong.’ Ningbo Huyong Electric Power Material Co. Website.[8] [Thanks toCourier Research Associates for providing this link.] ; & ‘缅甸瑞丽江一级电站工程总承建包合同在昆签字 (ContractsSigned in Kunming for Shweli I Dam).’ Sinohydro’s 14th Engineering Bureau Website, 5 July 2007. 30 For more information, see Kachin Development Network Group. 2007. Damming the Irrawaddy. Available at [9]


  2. ^ a b "Irrigation Works in Myanmar". Irrigation Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. 2004. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  3. ^ http://www.myanmar.gov.mm/NLM-2003/enlm/Aug19_h1.html>
  4. ^ a b "Country Profiles -Myanmar". Water Power Magazine. International Water Power and Dam Construction. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "Myanmar -Future Projects 1. HYDRO". Jakarta: Asean Centre for Energy. 2003-01-14. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Akimoto, Yuki (June 2004). "Hydro-powering the Regime". The Irawaddy, Vol. 12, No. 6. Irrawaddy Publishing Group. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Country Profiles
  8. ^ P. Lako, ECN H. Eder, Verbundplan M. de Noord, ECN H. Reisinger, Verbundplan (July 2003). HYDROPOWER DEVELOPMENT WITH A FOCUS ON ASIA AND WESTERN EUROPE (PDF). Overview in the framework of VLEEM 2. ECN Policy Studies. 
  9. ^ "Increased attention to Myanmar’s energy sector". Investvine.com. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  10. ^ "Black day for Burma's Irrawaddy: junta ministers host Myitsone dam "celebration"". Burma Digest. Dec 22, 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  11. ^ "Myanmar biggest hydropower plant to be put on test run". LETTING THE RIVERS RUN FREE. Burma Rivers Network. 2009-11-22. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i "ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY OF BURMA/MYANMAR ON-LINE COMPENDIUM" (PDF). BurmaLibrary.org. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  13. ^ U. Win Kyaw, U. Myint Zaw, Alan Dredge, Paul Fischer, K. Steiger. "Yeywa Hydropower Project, an Overview" (PDF). Vietnam National Commission On Large Dams. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Upper and Lower Paunglaung Dams". burmariversnetwork.org. 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Completed and On-Going Projects". ASEAN Centre for Energy. 2006-05-09. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  16. ^ Nyauggyat (Kinda) Dam Multipurpose Project ]
  17. ^ Dam
  18. ^ Chinese Dam Incurs KIO Wrath
  19. ^ "News Thailand and Myanmar agree Salween investment". Water Power and Dam Construction. Archived from the original on 28 April 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  20. ^ "Dagwin Dam, Dam Specifications". LETTING THE RIVERS RUN FREE. Burma Rivers Network. 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Myanmar, India sign hydro deal Mo". The Myanmar Times. Salween Watch. 2008-11-22. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  22. ^ "Bhel, NHPC in joint bid to bring Myanmar project back on track". LETTING THE RIVERS RUN FREE. Burma Rivers Network. 2009-02-13. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  23. ^ a b c d "Hydro-power projects to produce over 600 MW in Arakan state". Burma News International. 2009-01-14. Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  24. ^ "Sai Din Hydropower Project Resumes". Burma News. Democracy for Burma. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  25. ^ waterpowermagazine.com (October 15, 2008). "Myanmar plans Taninthayi, sees Yeywa two-thirds complete". waterpowermagazine.com. Archived from the original on April 28, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2010.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  26. ^ waterpowermagazine.com (September 23, 2008). "NHPC signs major hydro MoU with Myanmar". waterpowermagazine.com. Archived from the original on April 28, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2010.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  27. ^ waterpowermagazine.com (April 5, 2007). "China Gezhouba set for Mombela, Tajan and delivers at Busan". waterpowermagazine.com. Archived from the original on April 28, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2010.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)

External sources[edit]