19 December 2022, Colombo - Access to clean water is a human right and a key foundation for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Clean water helps communities create a safer environment for younger generations, while ensuring good health and well-being.
To enhance knowledge among local expertise on the latest developments and sustainable approaches in water and the wastewater industry, the International Water Conference, Sri Lanka 2022 was held from 14-16 December on the theme of ‘Water Sustainable Development Cooperation, Partnership and Appropriate Technology’ under the auspices of the Ministry of Water Supply organized by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB).
In line with the overall event, the Ministry of Irrigation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka hosted a side event under its flagship Climate Resilient Integrated Water Management (CRIWMP) project
funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the Centre of Excellence and Water Sanitation, Ratmalana.
Four civil society organisations - the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, Janathakshan GTE Ltd, South Asia Partnership Sri Lanka, and the Palm Foundation - presented their expertise on local climate adaptation options for water management and livelihood diversification, which have been proven successful options to be adopted in the Sri Lankan development context.
The dedicated session covered experiences from on-the-ground experts across a wide spectrum of areas on loss and damage in the context of climate change, ground water recharging, the Cascade (Ellanga) system, and disaster risk reduction interventions in flood and drought prone provinces in Sri Lanka.
Speaking on the importance of the cascade systems, Dr. M. U. A. Tennakoon, former Executive Director, South Asia Partnership Sri Lanka noted, “Today there are many who are aware of the ellangava cascade system. It is important that we continue to expand and increase interest in it by systematically disseminating information to attract more youth to be involved in its maintenance. We must look at countries facing similar issues and work together to improve the cascade systems to combat climate change”.
Sustainable management of water resources is key to unlock economic growth and productivity in the country. The CRIWMP project works together with stakeholders on the ground to improve access to clean water by enhancing community-managed drinking water infrastructure targeting households in three river basins - the Malwathu Oya, Mi Oya, and Yan Oya (rivers)- which flows through the Northern part of the Dry Zone.
This discussion was a stepping stone in supporting the implementation of Sri Lanka’s climate commitments, with a special focus on integrated water management to build a more sustainable and resilient Sri Lanka.