Focus on topical water issues at YWPS

Saturday, 10 November 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A Young Water Professionals Symposium to be held in Colombo this month will showcase local ideas on water and its impact on nationally relevant issues such as water quality, water-borne diseases, drought and citizens’ rights to water. It will also highlight studies recently carried out across a number of districts of Sri Lanka, including Ampara, Hambantota, Jaffna, and Kandy.

Scheduled for 22 and 23 November 2012, at the Galadari Hotel, Sri Lanka’s first-ever Young Water Professionals Symposium (YWPS) offers university graduates and public water sector professionals, under the age of 35 years, an opportunity to share innovative research on all aspects of integrated water resource management. The event is organised by the Sri Lanka Water Partnership (Lanka Jalani), and is co-sponsored by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Unilever Pureit.

The papers presented encompass a range of nationally important water-related issues, from optimising water utilisation and improving water delivery, from good governance and economic/financial feasibility and environmental sustainability, spanning topical areas like climate change adaptation, capacity building in water resources, etc.

According to YWPS Technical Committee Chair Jayatissa Bandaragoda, one of the unique aspects of this event is its call-to-action approach in soliciting presentations, along with the incentives provided to get the young water professionals involved. This has resulted in a number of innovative papers, including one on Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD); ‘Role of Environmental Factors on the Pathogenesis of Renal Failure’. Three awards will be given to outstanding paper presenters.

Former Secretary for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, and previous South East Asia Region Director for IWMI, Bandaragoda also noted that YWPS would also make further significant contributions to local knowledge in the form of papers; e.g. ‘Flood Mapping using Synthetic Aperture Radar in the Kelani Ganga and the Bolgoda Basins, Sri Lanka,’ which utilised geographic information systems (GIS ), and ‘Sustainable Use of Runoff Harvesting Tanks in Smallholder Farming System: A Case Study at Vellavelli area of Batticaloa District,’ which suggested proven alternatives for water harvesting for dry zone farms.

In addition, Bandaragoda also commented that, in his view, the key strength of YWPS is that research papers being presented, for the most part, focused more on primary data collection compared to many other academic forums that often only utilised secondary, published data.

He also added that while the papers presented at YWPS would not provide total solutions for many of the issues brought up, they did serve to spotlight many useful questions that could be addressed by future researchers in the water sector, and, in this way, provides a valuable public service.