A case study of irrigation water management at Kaudulla irrigation scheme and development of water management alternatives for the dry zone of Sri Lanka

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A case study was conducted at the Kaudulla irrigation system in the city zone of Sri Lanka. The principal objective of the study was to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the system in operation with primary focus on identifying major constraints to effective irrigation management through a multi-disciplinary research approach.

Inadequate control facilities and neglected maintenance of the channel system were the major problems affecting irrigation management. Other constraints identified were the lack of motivation among management personnel and insufficient funds available for maintenance, which were dependent on constraints external to the system, namely the national economic and political environment. The delicate economic status of a majority of the farmers, grassroot level political environment and the economic vicissitudes of the entire country have resulted in the formation of vicious economic cycles that have contributed to a breakdown in the institutions essential for an engineering system to function effectively.

Irrigation management alter:aat:ives were developed on the basis of generating motivational incentives to the management personnel and financial resources to sustain the technical capability of the engineering system to effectively distribute the irrigation water. Techniques for integrating these aspects into new community organizations in addition to existing organizational framework were outlined. These procedures should assist in eliminating the major constraints to effective utilization and management of irrigation water.