Irrigation and Drainage Systems

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 99–115 | Cite as

A Framework for Valuing Ecological Services of Irrigation Water – A Case of an Irrigation-Wetland System in Sri Lanka

Article

Abstract

In many countries, irrigation water is usedfor several purposes other than irrigatingfield crops. In Sri Lanka, irrigationwater from canals, wells, and reservoirs isused for domestic purposes, industry,livestock, and fisheries, and it alsocontributes to sustain the environment. However, policy makers and water managersin irrigation systems only take intoaccount water used for irrigating the fieldcrops and sometimes water used for domesticpurposes. Owing to the failure torecognize the different uses and users ofwater, the water in irrigation systems hasbeen undervalued. This paper presents theenvironmental impact of irrigation and aframework for valuing water for itsmultiple and often competing uses,especially focusing on water uses forecological services, in this case wetlands.The south coastal area of Sri Lanka wasselected as a site for a case study, including2,610 ha of irrigated area and adownstream wetland area of 2,250 ha whichhas five lagoons. This wetland areacombines coastal, marine and freshwaterecosystems in a tropical environment inwhich distinct plant and animal speciescoexist in a delicate balance. All users ofwater and other resources, and theirenvironmental problems were identified. Thispaper discusses the policy and managementimplications of valuing water for competinguses.

drainage economic valuation ecosystem irrigation multiple uses wetland 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Water Management InstituteColomboSri Lanka

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