Development Strategy for the Irrigation Sector of Sri Lanka 2006 -2016

Output: IWMI report:

“Development Strategy for the Irrigation Sector of Sri Lanka 2006-2016” (Annex 2) based on IWMI’s past experience and research in the country, linked to the milestones of MTP Project 1, MTP 2003-2005.


This report was the basis for the national irrigation sector development strategy included in the “Ten Year Horizon Development Framework 2006-2016” (Annex 1) compiled by the National Planning Department (NPD) of Sri Lanka. The framework will provide significant direction and input for sound irrigation policies and strategies for the country and served as a reference document in the Government’s 2007 Budget.

The paper addressed the inadequacy of current policies and strategies, identified policy gaps, spelled out a clear vision and developed the strategies accordingly and elaborated on the short, medium and long term targets for various actions. The paper also highlighted the need for irrigation sector policies to be aligned to other related sector policies and stressed the need for an enabling environment to capitalize the full development potential of the sector.


The NPD document forms the basis of the government’s development framework and was the discussion document provided for the donor conference in February 2007 attended by representatives of donor countries and multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the ADB. The country’s development activities and provision of funds are influenced by the discussions at this conference where the document was broadly endorsed (Annex 3). Our contribution is therefore significant particularly considering that agriculture and irrigation play an important role in Sri Lanka’s economic development, contributing about 20% to GDP, and also to poverty reduction since about 40% of the population’s livelihoods directly depend on agriculture. Annexes 4a and b are relevant communications from the NPD.