Advertisement

Urban Drought pp 329-345 | Cite as

Preparing for the Future: Challenges in Water Management in Colombo, Sri Lanka

  • Deepthi WickramasingheEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Disaster Risk Reduction book series (DRR)

Abstract

Water has become one of the key natural resources which are highly vulnerable to degradation in both quality and quantity under the circumstances of urban expansion and population explosion observed in major cities. Thus, adequate water management measures are considered as essential components in attaining sustainable development. The city of Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, is increasingly experiencing a water crisis as a result of a rapidly growing demand that has outstripped existing resources. Two major sources of water are used to meet the needs of water supply to the city: rivers and reservoirs. Numerous factors could be held responsible for water shortages which appear from time to time, and the results are obvious: absence of or mostly, insufficient water in need. This paper highlights the issues in continuous water supply to Colombo with a special emphasis on current threat factors including pollution by domestic sewage, municipal wastewater and industrial effluents as well as salinity intrusion in Kelani River and other water sources. Potential effects of climate change could pose on water supply and are also discussed. Finally, it examines the available options in enhancing water security such as water conservation and proper planning for a sustainable water future.

Keywords

Water supply Shortage Drought Urban environment 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to acknowledge the support extended by Ms. Ushawarnie Mendis, Waruni Perera and Nalaka Madusanka in editorial support, Eranjnaja Wickramsinghe for comments, Water Specialists Eng. DS Jayasiriwardena, Eng. Badra Kamaladasa and Eng. Danesh Gunathillake for valuable insights.

References

  1. ADB (2016) https://www.adb.org/projects/45148-004/main. Accessed on 1 July 2017
  2. Athukorala PSW, Weerasinghe LS, Jayasooria M, Rajapakshe D, Fernando L, Raffeeze M, Miguntanna NP (2013) Analysis of water quality variation in Kelani river, Sri Lanka using Principle Component Analysis. In: Proceedings of SAITM research symposium on engineering advancements, ColomboGoogle Scholar
  3. Atwater R (2008) Salinity management issues facing Southern California. Southwest Hydrol 16–17Google Scholar
  4. Bastiaanssen WGM, Harshadeep NR (2005) Managing scarce water resources in Asia: the nature of the problem and can remote sensing help? Irrig Drain Syst 19:269.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10795-005-5188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. CCS (2000) First draft report of climate change secretariat. Ministry of Environment, ColomboGoogle Scholar
  6. CEA (2014) Central environmental authority of Sri Lanka. www.cea.lk. Accessed on 27 June 2017
  7. Changnon SA (2002) Impacts of the midwestern drought forecasts of 2000. J Appl Meteorol 41(10):1042–1052CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cook CB (2012) Water security: debating an emerging paradigm. Glob Environ Change 22(1):94–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DCS (2012) Annual report of department of census and statistics. Government of Sri Lanka, ColomboGoogle Scholar
  10. DCS (2015) Annual report of department of census and statistics. Government of Sri Lanka, ColomboGoogle Scholar
  11. Dharmapala D, Ranasinghe M (2006) Public private partnerships for water supply to urban poor. In: Annual transactions of IESL, Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, pp 1–10Google Scholar
  12. DNP (2014) Unstoppable Sri Lanka. Department of National Planning, Sri LankaGoogle Scholar
  13. Fabre J, Ruelland D, Dezetter A, Grouillet B (2016) Sustainability of water uses in managed hydrosystems: human- and climate-induced changes for the mid-21st century. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 20:3129–3147.  https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-3129-2016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Henley BJ, Thyer MA, Kuczera G (2013) Climate driver informed short-term drought risk evaluation. Water Resour Res 49:2317–2326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Imbulana KAUS, Wijesekara NTS, Neupane BR (eds) (2006) Sri Lanka national water development report. MAI&MD, UN-WWAP, UNESCO and University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, Paris and New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  16. Karunaratne ADM, Pathmarajah S (2002) Groundwater development through introduction of agro-wells and micro-irrigation in Sri Lanka. In: Symposium on use of groundwater for agriculture in Sri Lanka. Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture, Peradeniya, Sri LankaGoogle Scholar
  17. Keshavarz M, Karami E, Vanclay F (2013) The social experience of drought in rural Iran. Land Use Policy 30:120–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Koop SHA, van Leeuwen CJ (2016) The challenges of water, waste and climate change in cities. Environ Dev Sustain.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-016-9760-4
  19. Malathi WPP (2016) Impacts of non-revenue water on the national water supply and drainage board and methods to minimize it. In: The 7th international conference on sustainable built environment, Sri LankaGoogle Scholar
  20. Mancosu N, Snyder RL, Kyriakakis G, Spano D (2015) Water scarcity and future challenges for food production. Water 2015(7):975–992CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McDonald RI, Weber K, Padowski J, Flörke M, Schneider C, Green PA, Montgomery M (2014) Water on an urban planet: urbanization and the reach of urban water infrastructure. Glob Environ Change 27:96–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. ME & NR (2004) National watershed management policy. Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Sri LankaGoogle Scholar
  23. Mekonnen MM, Hoekstra AY (2016) Four billion people facing severe water scarcity. Sci Adv 2(2):e1500323.  https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1500323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. NWS & DB (2015) World water day publication. National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Sri LankaGoogle Scholar
  25. Parry S, Wilby RL, Prudhomme C, Wood PJ (2016) A systematic assessment of drought termination in the United Kingdom. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 20:4265–4281.  https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-4265-2016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Peiris LLA, Dayawansa NDK, De Silva RP (2008) Assessment of non-revenue water in Hantana water supply scheme. Trop Agric Res 20:290–302Google Scholar
  27. Ratnayake NP, Silva KB, Kumara IGIK (2012) Chloride contamination in construction aggregates due to periodic saline water intrusion: a case study in the Kaluganga River Estuary, Sri Lanka. Environ Earth Sci 69(8):2529–2540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rossi G (2000) Drought mitigation measures: a comprehensive framework. In: Vogt J, Somma F (eds) Drought and drought mitigation in Europe. Springer, Netherlands, pp 233–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sevanatha (2003) The case of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Prepared for understanding slums: case studies for the global report on human settlements, ColomboGoogle Scholar
  30. Srinivasan V, Seto KC, Emerson R, Gorelick SM (2013) The impact of urbanization on water vulnerability: a coupled human–environment system approach for Chennai, India. Glob Environ Change 23(1):229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. UNEP (2012) 2012 UN-water status report on the application of integrated approaches to water resource management. United Nations Environment Programme, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  32. Wilhite DA (2000) Drought: a global assessment, vol I. In: Wilhite DA (ed) Chap. 1, London, pp 3–18Google Scholar
  33. Wilhite DA, Glant A (1985) Understanding the drought phenomenon: the role of definitions. Water Int 10(3):111–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wilhite DA, Svoboda M, Hayes M (2007) Understanding the complex impacts of drought: a key to enhancing drought mitigation and preparedness. Water Resour Manag 21:763–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology and Environment SciencesUniversity of ColomboColombo 03Sri Lanka

Personalised recommendations