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Climate 2014, 2(4), 329-354; doi:10.3390/cli2040329

Water Resource Management in Dry Zonal Paddy Cultivation in Mahaweli River Basin, Sri Lanka: An Analysis of Spatial and Temporal Climate Change Impacts and Traditional Knowledge

1
Department of Organic Food Quality and Food Culture, University of Kassel, Nordbahnhofstr. 1a, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany
2
Institute for Social Sciences, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Bienroder Weg 97, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany
3
Department of Archaeology and Heritage Management, Rajarata University, Mihintale 50300, Sri Lanka
4
Eco-collective Research Association, Colombo 00200, Sri Lanka
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 July 2014 / Revised: 21 October 2014 / Accepted: 30 October 2014 / Published: 18 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changes in Precipitation and Impacts on Regional Water Resources)
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Abstract

Lack of attention to spatial and temporal cross-scale dynamics and effects could be understood as one of the lacunas in scholarship on river basin management. Within the water-climate-food-energy nexus, an integrated and inclusive approach that recognizes traditional knowledge about and experiences of climate change and water resource management can provide crucial assistance in confronting problems in megaprojects and multipurpose river basin management projects. The Mahaweli Development Program (MDP), a megaproject and multipurpose river basin management project, is demonstrating substantial failures with regards to the spatial and temporal impacts of climate change and socioeconomic demands for water allocation and distribution for paddy cultivation in the dry zone area, which was one of the driving goals of the project at the initial stage. This interdisciplinary study explores how spatial and temporal climatic changes and uncertainty in weather conditions impact paddy cultivation in dry zonal areas with competing stakeholders’ interest in the Mahaweli River Basin. In the framework of embedded design in the mixed methods research approach, qualitative data is the primary source while quantitative analyses are used as supportive data. The key findings from the research analysis are as follows: close and in-depth consideration of spatial and temporal changes in climate systems and paddy farmers’ socioeconomic demands altered by seasonal changes are important factors. These factors should be considered in the future modification of water allocation, application of distribution technologies, and decision-making with regards to water resource management in the dry zonal paddy cultivation of Sri Lanka. View Full-Text
Keywords: monsoon climate; trends in precipitation; extended and short-term drought; floods; water availability; seasonal cultivation system (yala and maha); cross-scale dynamics and effects; Mahaweli Development Program (MDP) monsoon climate; trends in precipitation; extended and short-term drought; floods; water availability; seasonal cultivation system (yala and maha); cross-scale dynamics and effects; Mahaweli Development Program (MDP)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Withanachchi, S.S.; Köpke, S.; Withanachchi, C.R.; Pathiranage, R.; Ploeger, A. Water Resource Management in Dry Zonal Paddy Cultivation in Mahaweli River Basin, Sri Lanka: An Analysis of Spatial and Temporal Climate Change Impacts and Traditional Knowledge. Climate 2014, 2, 329-354.

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