Sri Lanka: Addressing Water Scarcity

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Uploaded on:
17/02/2023 08:40:54
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File Size:
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Dimensions:
1920 x 1080 pixels
Duration:
3 minutes 9 seconds
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Details

ID: 27430
Original Filename: unifeed230216b.mov
Title: Sri Lanka: Addressing Water Scarcity
Description:

Over the past few years, farmers, particularly paddy farmers, have been heavily affected by decreasing rainfall in the Malwathu Oya river basin of Sri Lanka. In order to overcome water shortages, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) developed WaPOR, an online platform aimed at assisting farmers and institutions in managing natural resources efficiently through digital innovations. With the data provided, and with the help of irrigation experts, farmers have changed irrigation and water management methods, thereby saving water and increasing productivity.

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Keywords: Sri Lanka, water, climate change, WaPOR
License type: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO
Credit: FAO
Country: Sri Lanka
Size (cm): 417.32 MB; 1920 x 1080 pixels; 3 minutes 9 seconds;
Orientation: Landscape
Date Created: 17/02/2023 08:38:01
Dopesheet:

Sri Lankan farmers are making use of a newly developed digital platform to address water scarcity caused by climate change.

 

Over the past few years, farmers, particularly paddy farmers, have been heavily affected by decreasing rainfall in the Malwathu Oya river basin of Sri Lanka. This has resulted in a significant impact on the livelihoods of those who are not receiving adequate water.

 

With the climate becoming more unpredictable, farmers have learned that traditional farming practices, such as flood irrigation, can be unsustainable because they are based on significant water usage. As a result, when water is scarce, they are unable to irrigate their fields.

 

Ramani Perera, a mother of two, has been a paddy farmer for the past 20 years in the Malwathu Oya river basin. She is one of the agricultural workers whose income has been affected by climate change and lack of water.

 

SOUNDBITE (Sinhala) Ramani Perera, paddy farmer: “Due to climate change, if there is no rain, farmers will not cultivate. Farmers say they don't have enough water. Therefore, they stop farming.”

 

In order to overcome water shortages, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) developed WaPOR, an online platform aimed at assisting farmers and institutions in managing natural resources efficiently through digital innovations.

 

WaPOR cross-checks satellite images with on-the-ground observations providing real time information on rainfall precipitation, water evaporation and the level of water reserves. The platform provides data on water availability with 30 meter resolution for the Malwathu Oya Southern basin, and with 100 meter resolution at the national level.

 

The accurate data provided by the platform helps make effective decisions about farming and water usage in response to climate change intensifying weather extremes such as droughts and floods.

 

Making use of the data made available by WaPOR platform, FAO trained local irrigation experts support farmers in planning their activities more effectively and in managing water resources more efficiently.

 

SOUNDBITE (Sinhala) Shamani Ilangasinghe, Irrigation Engineer, Nachchaduwa Irrigation office, Anuradhapura: “Earlier, we started to cultivate the entire season [of crops] at once. Now if we grow additional food crops, we grow them a little later. Later, we provide water. Because of that, we have got good water productivity from that land."

 

With the data provided, and with the help of irrigation experts, farmers from the Malwathu Oya river basin change irrigation and water management methods, thereby saving water as well as increasing productivity.

 

SOUNDBITE (Sinhala) Ramani Perera, paddy farmer: “Farmers’ awareness has increased. Because of that, the harvest has also increased. In the past, we used to divert water from the canal. If too much water gets stagnant in the paddy field, the stagnant water will turn muddy. Therefore, manure would also be in danger of getting washed away, leaving the grains hollow. As a result, the expected yield cannot be obtained. At that time, the farmer was not aware. The farmer thought that if there was water, the crops would grow.”

 

Sri Lankan government agencies including the Department of Irrigation, the Sustainable Development Council, and the Department of Census and Statistics, are currently using WaPOR at the national level. Specifically, the Irrigation Department employs the WaPOR database for its assessments and planning of water resources.

 

FAO is working with the government of Sri Lanka to further promote better management of the country's natural resources, particularly water, while ensuring improvements in agricultural production.

 

According to FAO, helping Sri Lanka achieve better production is one of its core goals to achieve the SDGs, along with ensuring better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all.

 

SOUNDBITE (English) Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative, Sri Lanka and the Maldives: "Over use of irrigation water is a serious issue in the country and FAO is planning to introduce better water distribution systems so that precise amounts of water can be provided for individual farms. Paddy land consolidation will be expanded to the rice growing areas which will increase the efficiency of water use in the country. We will also provide more technical support for in-country capacity building for better water resources management. In addition, the data and the state of the art technology provided can play a significant role in sustainable water management, and FAO will work with global expertise to support the Sri Lankan government in accessing the required expertise for data and capacity building in this area.

 

In Sri Lanka, WaPOR's database is made available through FAO's project "Knowing water better" (KnoWat), which aims to ensure sustainable access to water resources and strengthen water governance processes in three countries, Sri Lanka, Senegal and Rwanda, so that they are better able to ensure food security and adapt to climate change.

Shotlist:

19-21 OCTOBER 2022, ANURADHAPURA, SRI LANKA 

1.     Drone shot, Ramani Perera, paddy farmer working

2.     Close up, water flowing in a paddy field

3.     Zoom out, Shamani Ilangasinghe (camera left), irrigation engineer, using the WaPOR platform

4.     Close up, computer screen showing WaPOR platform

5.     Wide shot, Ramani Perera, paddy farmer walking in the field

6.     SOUNDBITE (Sinhala) Ramani Perera, paddy farmer: “Due to climate change, if there is no rain, farmers will not cultivate. Farmers say they don't have enough water. Therefore, they stop farming.”

7.     Med shot, Shamani Ilangasinghe (camera left), irrigation engineer, using the WaPOR platform

8.     Close up, Shamani Ilangasinghe, irrigation engineer, talking

9.     SOUNDBITE (Sinhala) Shamani Ilangasinghe, Irrigation Engineer, Nachchaduwa Irrigation office, Anuradhapura: “Earlier, we started to cultivate the entire season [of crops] at once. Now if we grow additional food crops, we grow them a little later. Later, we provide water. Because of that, we have got good water productivity from that land."

10.  Wide shot, irrigation experts meeting farmers

11.  Med shot, Ramani Perera (camera left), paddy farmer, participating at a meeting with irrigation experts

12.  Wide shot, Ramani Perera, paddy farmer, working in the field

13.  SOUNDBITE (Sinhala) Ramani Perera, paddy farmer: “Farmers’ awareness has increased. Because of that, the harvest has also increased. In the past, we used to divert water from the canal. If too much water gets stagnant in the paddy field, the stagnant water will turn muddy. Therefore, manure would also be in danger of getting washed away, leaving the grains hollow. As a result, the expected yield cannot be obtained. At that time, the farmer was not aware. The farmer thought that if there was water, the crops would grow.”

 

9 FEBRUARY 2023, COLOMBO, SRI LANKA

14.  Wide shot, Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, working in his office

15.  Close up, Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, working at the computer

16.  SOUNDBITE (English) Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative, Sri Lanka and the Maldives: "Over use of irrigation water is a serious issue in the country and FAO is planning to introduce better water distribution systems so that precise amounts of water can be provided for individual farms. Paddy land consolidation will be expanded to the rice growing areas which will increase the efficiency of water use in the country. We will also provide more technical support for in-country capacity building for better water resources management. In addition, the data and the state of the art technology provided can play a significant role in sustainable water management, and FAO will work with global expertise to support the Sri Lankan government in accessing the required expertise for data and capacity building in this area.

 

19-21 OCTOBER 2022, ANURADHAPURA, SRI LANKA 

17.  Drone shot, irrigation expert opening a water gate

18.  Close up, water level indicator

19.  Med shot, farmer plowing

20.  Drone shot, farmers working in the fields