Sri Lankan farmers urged to tap ancient irrigation systems amid erratic rains
Thomson Reuters Foundation, 2 July 2013

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA: While the problem of erratic rains may seem relatively new, research by Sri Lankan water experts shows that a workable solution to the vagaries of shifting rain patterns has been around for centuries in the form of ancient irrigation reservoirs, or “tanks” as they are known locally. Experts at the Colombo-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) say these tanks – mainly located in the north and east – can be used to store excess water from floods, which is then released during dry spells. Nishadi Eriyagama, a water resources engineer at the IWMI, said farming regions in the dry zone have traditionally relied on reservoirs and irrigation for crop cultivation. “It has been the custom from ancient times to store excess rainfall in large and small irrigation ‘tanks’ to be used during the dry season,” she said. Read the article …