Resilient Asia pp 151-187 | Cite as

Mosaic of Traditional and Modern Agriculture Systems for Enhancing Resilience

  • Srikantha Herath
  • Binaya Mishra
  • Pearly Wong
  • S. B. Weerakoon
Part of the Science for Sustainable Societies book series (SFSS)


There are many traditional agricultural production systems in Asia that have resulted not only in outstanding landscapes, maintenance of agricultural biodiversity, indigenous knowledge, and resilient ecosystems development but also provided economic, environmental, and social goods and services over thousands of years. With growing population and economic aspirations, many of these systems are being replaced by modern agriculture systems that are designed for efficiency and large-scale development. However, there is also a growing realization that we should in some form preserve these valuable repositories of indigenous knowledge for climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and land management, and the rich culture they spawned. Different approaches such as World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites, in particular World Cultural Heritage Landscapes of UNESCO, or the Globally Important Agriculture Heritage Systems of FAO attempt to preserve and showcase representative production sites from these systems. However, they cannot be upscaled to cover the vast populations still engaged in them. In this paper, we investigate the feasibility of fusing the traditional and the modern systems through building mosaics of traditional and new systems.

In this article, we have studied the Deduru Oya irrigation project which provides an ideal ground for research and experimentation of integrating modern irrigation and ancient irrigation systems to improve cropping intensity and resilience. The simulation carried out for past 10 years reveal that this project planned to operate LB canal irrigation management incorporating the existing small irrigation tanks will be able to supply the water demand for LB development area for paddy cultivation without failure. While the modern system can adequately meet the irrigation demand, the integration of existing distributed small tanks provides resilience for extreme drought conditions and the much-needed macro-microscale integration with autonomy at microscale.


Traditional irrigation system Deduru Oya project Hydrological modeling Resilience 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Srikantha Herath
    • 1
  • Binaya Mishra
    • 2
  • Pearly Wong
    • 3
  • S. B. Weerakoon
    • 4
  1. 1.Ministry of Megapolis and Western DevelopmentGovernment of Sri LankaColomboSri Lanka
  2. 2.UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of SustainabilityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.UNESCO office in KathmanduGroundwork InstitutePatanNepal
  4. 4.Departmet of Civil EngineeringUniversity of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka

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