Sept 07, Colombo: The US National Science Foundation has granted a five-year, US$ 3.7 million grant through their Water Sustainability and Climate program to the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment (VIEE) for a unique interdisciplinary study of agricultural adaptation to water scarcity in Sri Lanka's Mahaweli River Watershed (MRW).
The VIEE study was developed in collaboration with colleagues from the National Building Research Organization and the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka.
The five-year project from 2012-2017 will continue from the ongoing work at the Vanderbilt University since 2010.
The study seeks to understand the factors that facilitate or constrain adaptive responses among farmers within the Mahaweli River Watershed of Sri Lanka drawing upon the core disciplines of psychology, sociology, hydrology, and engineering to investigate farmers' adaptive actions and how these decisions are affected by psychological, social, institutional, and environmental factors.
The team will simultaneously examine water availability and rice yields in light of farmer behavior, changing rainfall and temperature patterns, land use changes, and water allocation decisions.
These multiple streams of data will be integrated using agent-based modeling to generate a rich set of future scenarios to characterize how changes to social and institutional circumstances and in the natural environment may affect farmers and their capacity to manage vulnerability to water scarcity.
The VIEE research team members have traveled to Sri Lanka three times over the past two years to attend national workshops, meet with collaborators and local stakeholders, and to coordinate research efforts.