Climate change-induced changes to hydrological cycles will deteriorate water quality, quantity, and accessibility in Myanmar. Several sections of the hydrological cycle are vulnerable to climate change. The rate of snow and glacial melt is expected to increase, resulting in changing river flows and unpredictable flooding events. The late onset and early withdrawal of the monsoon period will result in large quantities of rain falling over short periods. This will result in flooding, contamination of water resources, erosion and limited replenishment of waterways. Furthermore, changes in river flow and discharge will increase the risk of flash floods as well as decrease ground water recharge. Vast areas of lowland regions will be regularly inundated as a result of flooding events. Conversely, increases in drought events will increase utilization pressures on ground water for expanding irrigated agriculture. Rising sea levels, however, will lead to saltwater intrusion into groundwater supplies, particularly as existing water levels decrease. Ground water supplies will be particularly vulnerable to saline intrusion during the dry season as a result of low water volumes in river systems. Furthermore, regardless of the quantity of water available increased temperatures from climate change will increase evaporation rates, raising the concentration of dissolved salts in the water often deeming it unsuitable for drinking purposes.
This section provides insights into projected climate change impacts on various hydrological indicators.