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  • "DSWRP Project Management Unit", 1st floor,
    MASL Building, No. 500, T.B.Jayah Mawatha, Colombo 10

Project at a Glance

The greatness of the irrigation systems in Sri Lanka is a consequence of the greatest engineering skill exhibited in the ancient Sinhalese Kingdom. The progressive building up of a colossal and complex system of interrelated dams, canals and tank cascade systems to mingling the waters of rivers flowing in different directions are notable achievements in water management in our history.

Today our ancient hydraulic structures as well as reservoir dams built in recent past are facing with interdependent challenges due to aging of structures, suffering from various structural deficiencies and shortcomings of operation and maintenance of such structures. This situation threatens public safety of downstream lives and also affects the operational efficiency of the dams and appurtenances. Failure of the dam structure is itself, or emergency spillway operation, also can lead to disaster which resulting hazards not only comprises the physical damage and loss of life, but also the associated disappearance of the storage capacity for many users. Therefore, dam structures and reservoirs demand both regulatory and operational safety measures and timely remedial repairs. The challenge of managing aging dams is rapidly becoming a principal focus of dam engineering throughout the world. A primary objective of dam owners and regulators should be to ensure that aging dams "do not create unacceptable risks to public safety and welfare, property, the environment, and cultural resources".

The National Hydro-meteorological data collection, storage and management are done in fragmented way without having linked with databases managed by different stakeholders. Such databases are outdated, inadequate and inappropriate for modern-day water resource planning, flood forecasting and management. Therefore, dedicated Hydro-meteorological Management Information System (HMIS) has to be established by integrating and networking of existing operative units by improving and upgrading their capacities and also introducing fully equipped existing and new units.

In a situation of growing urban and rural demand for water, competition for water among different uses is immensely increased. This emphasized an urgent need to manage and allocate the country's water resources efficiently and effectively by adopting sector wide approach to swapping individual interests to maximize shared management of water resources.

The project addresses the above challenges by undertaking remedial works of critical dams, provision of basic safety facilities, upgrading hydro-meteorological data collection, storage, management and dissemination system, enhancing capacity of institutions involved in the water sector to acquire knowledge and skills in using modern analytical tools and management practices to undertake sustainable multi-sector planning, development and management of the water resources in the country. In addition, project assists to reviewing and exploring the development potential and feasibility of existing water resources plans, including revised Mahaweli Water Resources Development Plan.

Accordingly 32 high risk dams out of 80 large dams are identified to be fully renovated under the project. All 80 dams including 32 will be provided with basic facilities for efficient operations and maintenance of such dams.

Irrigation Department, Mahaweli Authority, Ceylon Electricity Board and Water supply & Drainage Board are joined hands to implement the project together with other stakeholders involved in the water sector. Emphasis is given to safeguard the Social and environment aspects in the rehabilitation process of dams together with due consideration on protection of cultural properties of the dams.

Project has four components namely,

  1. Dam Safety and Operational Efficiency Improvement
  2. Hydro-meteorological Information System Improvement
  3. Multi- sectoral Water Resources Planning
  4. Project Management and Monitoring

Project Development Objectives

Broader Objective

"Contributes to protecting the public from potential water and dam induced hazards and enhance the long term capacity for sustainable planning and management of water resources and related hydraulic infrastructures of the country"

Specific Objective

The project development objective (PDO) of the DSWRPP Project is to "improving the development and management of water resources within the country, reduce water induced hazards to public, and enhance effectiveness of water related investments" through:

  • Establish long-term sustainable arrangements for operation and maintenance of large dams and
  • Improve water resources planning capacities.

Project Management Modalities

The DSWRPP is structured in such a way to implement the project interventions by joining hands with partner organizations. Project is followed the integrated approach to implement the project components in order to achieving the desired results. Project Management Unit (PMU) performs a central coordinating, facilitating and monitoring roles to ensure effective utilization of project funds to realizing the project objectives. A team of experts from dam owning organizations, who have gained tremendous experience in different technical and management aspects of dam safety and water resources planning are involved in the project implementation under the technical guidance of International Implementation Support experts hired under the project to achieving the project objectives. The overall project implementation is reviewed at national and ministry level by two committees namely National Project Oversight Committee (NPOC) and Project Steering Committee (PSC) respectively. NPOC is a inter-ministerial committee which provides overall policy oversight and guidance and resolve inter-agency conflicts and issues during the project implementation. The PSC provides overall policy and strategic guidance to the Project Management Unit (PMU) to steering, coordinating and collaboration among the project implementing agencies.

Expected Outcomes

  • Operationally-efficient and risk-minimized dams with a safety monitoring system in place to ensure safety operation and maintenance of the dams;
  • A modernized and efficient Hydro-meteorological Information System;
  • A National Water Use Master Plan addressing both surface and ground water;
  • Updated Mahaweli Master Plan to identify and develop untapped potential Water Resources
  • A skilled and competent staff to manage the water resources and structures in a sustainable manner and to meet the emerging challenges in the water sector.
  • Increase Agricultural Production and improve the livelihood of Rural Community.