This feasibility study was conducted in preparation for the design of the "Strengthening the resilience of smallholder farmers in the Dry Zone to climate variability and extreme events" project in Sri Lanka.
Based on an extensive assessment of past experiences and consultations with stakeholders, including an assessment of ongoing related projects and efforts, it was found that community participation is required in all key activities, including the design of watershed and irrigation infrastructure. This feasibility study recommends building on best practices, such as community participation in all steps in upgrading irrigation systems; promoting an integrated approach to irrigation (e.g. using excavated silt for catchment protection and dam strengthening); improving drinking water; and the use of weather/climate and hydrological information. Improving seed availability and access to markets will be needed to enhance the use of CSA techniques, including training and development of CSA packages and knowledge management through Agricultural Resource Centres (ASCs). The recommendations of the study include the necessity to use an integrated approach to enhance the climate resilience of communities. A holistic approach for the village irrigation systems, watersheds and cascade, including a mix of short- and long-term measures, as well as integrating different agency-led measuring systems, are innovative aspects of this project. This also includes new technologies for climate-smart agriculture, combining short- and long-term solutions for rural water supply, and the use of technologies such as automatic rain gauges and data transmission systems.