G

© CAB International 2004. Climate Change in Contrasting River Basins (eds J.C.J.H. Aerts and P. Droogers)

Fig. 10.1. Location of Walawe Basin in Sri Lanka.

decreasing annual rainfall since 1970. The ambient temperatures in the lowlands range from 25 to 28°C and in the upper elevations from 23 to 25°C.

Similarly, threats to the environment through pollution could increase. The coastal lagoon systems in the basin are close to areas of high population density and further expansion of industries can be expected in these areas. The major challenge for the future is managing competing demands whilst protecting ecosystems.

Malnutrition remains a problem in Walawe even though production of rice exceeds consumption. The number of stunted, wasted and underweight children in the area remains comparatively high, although substantial improvements have been made during the last decade. High levels of poverty will affect the sustainability of water resources management interventions, leading to a vicious cycle where water and land degradation restricts income, thus leading to further poverty.

On top of these internal changes that will have an impact on Walawe's water resources are the expected changes in climate that might put even more stress on water resources. A severe drought from 2000 to 2002, resulting in island-wide power cuts due to reduced hydropower generation, is seen by many as a first indication of what is going to happen.

Fig. 10.1. Location of Walawe Basin in Sri Lanka.

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