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* President launches Sri Lanka Water Resources Information System
Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 10:40 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 17, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday officially launched a new, hi-tech information system that will enhance water management in the island.

President Rajapaksa launched the Sri Lanka Water Resources Information System, developed by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), at the Institute's headquarters in Battaramulla today.

The system provides facts, figures and maps on trends in water availability, use and quality for the country, where water continues to be a critical issue.

According to the IWMI, the tool is available free online and is the first of its kind for helping scientists and policymakers in Sri Lanka to accurately monitor the dynamics of the country's water resources. It also provides a secure platform for cooperation among all the agencies involved in water management to share their data.

"While many parts of Sri Lanka have an abundance of water resources, huge areas experience water scarcity and hence competition among the uses for people's individual needs and livelihoods, food production, industry, tourism as well the country's stunning wildlife," Jeremy Bird, Director General, IWMI said at the occasion.

He said the growing threats from climate change will intensify that competition, which means that it is more important than ever to manage water resources efficiently and sustainably.

"Tools such as the information system play a part in supporting Sri Lanka's continued development, economic growth and future prosperity," IWMI official added.

The IWMI, found in 1984, has done extensive work with irrigation reform and led the way for new and improved design, operation and maintenance of irrigation systems throughout Asia and Africa.

The nonprofit, scientific research organization focuses on the sustainable use of land and water resources in agriculture to benefit poor people in developing countries.

Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena, Susil Premajayantha and Sarath Amunugama, Deputy Ministers Nirupama Rajapaksa and Geethanjana Gunawardena, and Secretary to the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management A. Abeygunawardena also participated in the occasion.

(Photos by Chandana Perera)

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