World Bank supports Sri Lanka water management to adapt to climate risks

ECONOMYNEXT – The World Bank will help the Sri Lankan government to develop its water management institutions to adapt to the challenges posed by climate change, a senior official said.

The south Asian region is subject to extremes of floods and droughts which will worsen with climate change, said Rolande Pryce, Operations Advisor in the Colombo office of the World Bank Group.

These climate events will threaten water resources, agriculture and many coastal cities, she told a regional forum of scientists and policy makers from across South Asia in Colombo to discuss how water management can better respond to future climate adaptation needs.

Risks are increasing sharply with climate change, Pryce said, noting how floods have ravaged the capital Colombo at least five times in the last 10 years.

"Climate change risks and water management are strongly linked in Sri Lanka,” Pryce said.

The 2017-20 World Bank country program identifies water resources development and management as continuing priorities for Sri Lanka in the light of increasing climate-related risks, she said.

The World Bank has several programs supporting Sri Lanka’s water sector including those for dam safety and water resources planning, urban flood control in Colombo and key secondary cities like Kandy, Galle and Jaffna, and water supply and sanitation.

"In future, we will help the government to develop water management institutions to adapt to the challenges brought about by climate change risks,” Pryce said.

Rising sea levels will also put more pressure on ground water resources, Pryce told the forum, organised by the International Water Management Institute and the World Bank, through the South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI) Technical Assistance as a follow-up to the global climate agreement in Paris in December 2015. (COLOMBO, July 13, 2016)





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