Posted on March 21st, 2018

Sarath Wijesinghe a former Ambassador to UAE and Israel/ a former Chairman Consumer Affairs authority

Water is precious

Water is one of the most precious elements essential for the life of a being which is found throughout the world on unequal distribution of geographic considerations. One can live only three days without water which is considered to be a basic human right declared by the UN establishing world day as 22nd March every year reminding the world the value of water wasting 9 billion per year due to neglect and mismanagement. Some nations are fortunate and most are unfortunate on water with severe shortages with wanton suffering to people due to lack of safe drinking water and for sanitation due to corrupt politicians and the unreasonable economic and political world order. 71% earth surface is water with 97.5 in ocean rich in unexplored resources hidden from the world leaving only 2.5 to lakes, rivers, and land for the consumption of the animal kingdom. 663 million is living without water and 1 out of 10 walks miles and miles for a bucket of water, whilst 43% die on waterborne diseases.

Water belongs to peoples

Water belong to the peoples of the world/nation and to be administered equity and fairly by the trustees of the respective nations acting as temporary trustees in managing of the water and other resources, in participatory development and administrative methods by democratically elected representatives of the government in power for a given period of time. To what extent this ideal theory is applied is a moot issue when the most precious element – water is left for waste and extinct due to manmade disasters based on destruction of the environment pollution and many other causes on shortages and pollution of water due to industrial and other modes of pollutions by the man and neglect. Human body has 50-to75% water and doctors’ advice human being to drink water as much as possible for good health. But how many can afford this luxury? Unfortunately in the UK this precious natural resource belongs to peoples have been sold to private companies which is sad and it is a sorry state of affairs that Sri Lankan Governance are also trying to follow suit for which the citizen is against but decisions are taken by World Bank, UN agencies and NGO’s twisting the hands of the governance with no vision for water management or preservation!. It looks that the Ministry water board or the organizations have any clue or a programmer for the future of water which is drying out faster with water falls, rivers, lakes and ground water. One billion people have no access to water when UN has resolved on the resolution 64/292 making water is a human right and organizing the international brotherhood fine solutions for the water problems spreading faster due to mass scale de formation and environmental pollution added to human made disasters happening worldwide. Sri Lanka, Africa, and India are most affected due to mismanagement and destruction process of the environment.

Water Pollution

Water pollution is rampant worldwide with opposition by governments and non-governmental organizations attempting to find solutions. Oil spills from ships pollutes ocean and rivers with side effects to the Rivers/canals around with severe side effects. Pollution of rivers by industrial waste is not controlled with the power of the powerful multinational companies which are powerful with the corrupt politicians. Mass agitation of recent water pollution by Co-Cola Company is now a matter of the past and the company is planning to expand when India is showing the doors out to avoid further contamination. This is not an isolated incident. It talks place in all districts with the cover of politics, power and money. It appears the Ministry of Environment which is the most powerful ministry in any government worldwide appear to be dormant, inert and inefficient led by the President of the country mostly engaged in political struggles and engagements of other Ministry” Mahavali,” and the strenuous duties of the challenging position of leading the Nation is most difficult times with 151 ministers in a country of 23 million.

Water Institutions

Institutions for water is Sri Lanka is numerous led by the Ministry of Environment and the powerful the environment authority, with enormous powers and resources Water board, Local Authorities, environmental authority, department of forest conservation, and Grama Sevakes” and public health inspectors spread right round the country. Sand mining is a very lucrative and convenient mode of earn with least effort with political patronage, mostly managed by political stooges of the members of the legislation, when the peace officers look helpless or become a part of the game. River beds, lake beds, and any vacant area is ruined which are daily exposed by the media with no effective control. Forest department is equally ineffective having assisted Sri Lanka becoming 4th in the destruction of forests which has the forest density of 38% now come down to 23%. Politician with foreign collaboration are clearing jungles at rapid speeds when the governance is watching helplessly due to political pressure by the Ministers/politicians and there cronies on the rampage. Water Board is expected to preserve, save, improve the quality, and to manage water to provide clean and quality water to the people attacked by Dengue, and other forms of non-communicable diseases now spreading fast as an epidemic.

Water is in abundance in Sri Lanka though there is cry for water in many areas

Water is in abundance in Sri Lanka historically famous for water management and collection on reservoirs for agriculture from the 103 rivers spring from the hill country penetrating all the sides with the network of water used for agriculture aiming at self-sufficiency on paddy and many other crops, which is used for development, irrigation, safe supply for drinking water, hydro power, industries, tourism and various purposes with limited measures of control and management. The ancient mechanism of preserving water in tanks, and small waves in villages, saving and managing water system has amused the modern scientists who tend to follow the ancient methods and structure with the limited funds and assistance from the governance due to lack of funds, vision and the will due to no vision or a visionary for directions.

Cause of the Water disasters and way out for water management

Waste of water from the supply from the Water and drainage board is 40% and the other waste on overflowing and flowing to the sea is not calculated. Though the rainfall is of highest density with frequent monsoons and wet weather, no arrangements have been made to preserve as has been practices by the ancestors, made large and small tanks countrywide with the network of water drainage for agriculture with the declaration/motto of King Parakramabahue” that not a drop of water should be allowed to reach sea unused” making Sri Lanka the granary of the east. In Sri Lanka what is lacking is proper waste management and it is useful for us to use the methods adopted by countries with less water in their development process managing the available resources to elevate themselves high in the world community. Let us take Israel, and UAE as examples the countries with least rain fall deserted nations with limited water yet self-sufficient and leader sin agriculture and industry with waste carefully managed by desalination( water extracted from sea) recycling from sewage, collection of rain water and preserve underground, and manage to use the water careful to the optimum. Sri Lanka has 132 rivers but Israel i/3 of Sri Lanka has only the Galaly River they have exploited to sell water to the neighbors while freely consuming water comfortably. Israelis are world class agriculturists exporting agriculture products and flows to the world using the minim quantity of waste from drip irrigation in which 95% of agriculture is technology! Main source of water is from desalination for which they have invested billions 60 years ago with a vision led by a visionary now followed by dedicated leaders and scientists working round the clock with modern innovations on water related experiments and conservation of water resources. Israel are parties to the international conventions and entered into friendly agreement to share water with the neighbor” Jorden” setting aside the enmities for the sake of water for the citizen of both counters. UAE and Israel though countries with differences the Israel technology is used in UAE and many Middle Eastern countries on desalination n and purification of water and matters we have to take into serious consideration. Therefore only way out for us is to seek assistance from friendly nations for technical assistance on proper and scientific process of water management, with stringent rules to preserve the environment from the politicians who are mainly responsible for the destruction! (Reading materials –water lifeline next to air 20/10/2013 – Lanka web-Is drinking water from Kelani” river safe Lanka Guardian 21/8/2015 – author could be contacted on sarath7@hotmail.co.uk)


  1. Christie Says:

    Wait till the separate States and the Sinhalese will have to beg for water and our water will go to South India over Rama’s Bridge.

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