Ruhuna Basins, Sri Lanka (WWDR1, 2003)

Click on the map to access a detailed view. Map prepared for WWAP by AFDEC.

This case study offers the picture of a rural society that values water in traditional ways, but is changing rapidly. There is little coordination among the many agencies dealing with water. Water resources in Ruhuna are of good – though declining – quality and are highly regulated to support hydropower production and irrigation. However, the basin is currently experiencing water stress due to great seasonal variation in rainfall and a drought in the area. Paddies account for a whopping 95 percent of the total water consumption. Rural poverty is increasing and farmers are often perceived as mere beneficiaries rather than key partners in the management of irrigation and water resources. There is hope that the recent formation of Water Resources Councils can address the need for co-ordination, integrate the concerns of different users, and lead the way to a better life.

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