Eng. (Prof.), Int. PEng (SL), C. Eng, FIE(SL), FIAE(SL) BSc Eng (Hons) (Moratuwa), M Eng (AIT), D Eng (Tokyo) Editor, ‘ENGINEER’, Journal of The Institution of Engineers Head of the Department & Professor in Civil Engineering, The Open University of Sri Lanka.
History of this country is inseparably interleaved with heritage of water. Water - indubitably known as the most significant contributor to life on this plant also happens to be the most contained compound within life forms too. Though in pure scientific sense this is a fact applicable to all life here, Sri Lankan heritage with water has evolved on a simpler and practical note: namely, Agriculture. It is well accepted that proper civilisation of man began only after he learnt to grow his sustenance with the aid of land and water. In this sense, our history is a portrait of how man learnt to harness fresh water for his use with finesse and ingenuity. With a history and heritage of that stature, one might think that the dexterity with which the present generations of this country utilize its water resources leaves a lot to be desired. However, several recent irrigation and hydro power projects completed and on-going got me thinking that at least we are heading in the general right direction as far as harnessing fresh water potential. Especially, recent irrigation projects such as Deduru Oya, Moragahakanda and Yan Oya are long felt need of the respective regions starved of irrigations waters. It is noteworthy that while some of these projects are on total local funding and Engineering inputs, some has major foreign components in terms of both funding and expertise. While economic and political aspects might dictate otherwise, in the viewpoint of Engineering and Engineers of Sri Lanka, it is highly desirable for ourselves to design and execute our construction and especially water projects, which would definitely optimize the cost and functionality while training our young Engineers.