Reading: Infrastructure for Sustainable Development and Management of Water Resources


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Section I

Infrastructure for Sustainable Development and Management of Water Resources


M. Y. Zainudeen

North Western Provincial Council, LK
About M. Y.

Deputy Chief Secretary (Eng. Services)

PG Dip in Engineering, (Moratuwa), MSc (Hons.) (Ireland), C Eng., I Eng., FIESL, FIIESL

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The entire water world is entering an era in which increasing competition for water supplies, growing risk of water pollution & environmental degradation, and increasing social, economic and environmental costs of developing water resources are prominent, posing sustainability threats, especially in developing countries. Developing and managing of water resources in a sustainable manner is complicated due to the irreplaceable nature of water in human life, economic development and environmental protection, and to a wide range of stakeholders involved in it. The importance of developing, conserving and managing water resources, especially with respect to sustainability, productive use and environmental protection poses many challenges to the water professionals and managers today, highlighting the necessity of a new look on this sector.


Sustainable development of water resources emphasizes many concepts; withdraw less than what could be produced/replaced, maximize positive (economic) benefits and minimize negative (social and environmental) impacts, protected eco systems, should not create a situation for future generations to compromise on water needs and so on. Infrastructure has been developed for water resources in Sri Lanka since the pre Christian era, especially for irrigated agriculture. Since then the sector has evolved through millennia but the sustainable management and its effects on other development sectors have not been properly studied or evaluated in the light of future implication that this sector has to face. Successive Governments which came to power, one after the other, in the post independent period have taken many positive steps in implementing new water related infrastructure development projects yet the sector has not reached a sustainable status as far as the productive use of water and the environmental protection and user satisfaction are concerned.


Generally, the term infrastructure in the water sector implies construction of some diversion, structure, intake, reservoir, canals, runnels etc., in a traditional way. But in the present context, the term "Infrastructure" means a lot, much more than physical structures constructed on the ground. One has to assure whether these are founded on firm policies, designed and constructed in a user friendly and environment friendly manner, appropriate managements and mechanisms are in place for allocation of water, operation and maintenance of the systems and so forth. In some cases these infrastructure demands certain legal Compliance which are required to satisfy social aspects as well. Therefore, the term Infrastructure needs to lx- viewed through a set of new dimensions which constitute many factors influencing its sustainability.


It is intended to discuss some of the salient issues connected with the design, and implementation of infrastructure projects for the sustainable development and management of water resources, in this paper, giving due consideration to water conservation, and watershed and environmental protection as well.

How to Cite: Zainudeen, M.Y., 2007. Infrastructure for Sustainable Development and Management of Water Resources. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 40(2), pp.41–50. DOI:
Published on 23 Apr 2007.
Peer Reviewed


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