In 2009 the Uva Provincial Council and National Water Supply and Drainage Board sought help from GWP Sri Lanka to set up a provincial water resources committee. This request was prompted by a new government policy recommending that provincial water resources committees should be set up to manage drinking water at river basin scale.
The Uva Water Resources Committee, launched in November 2009 at a workshop, Institutional Framework for IWRM Planning and Allocation of Water Resources in Uva Province for Uma Oya and Badullu Oya Basins, is the first such committee to be formed in Sri Lanka. The committee became fully functional in 2010: it has made an inventory of resources and is developing criteria to allocate and rationalise water use, especially during periods of low flow. This has led to a marked reduction in industrial pollution and an improvement in river flows due to better regulation of releases from the reservoir.
In December, GWP Sri Lanka set up a similar committee for Menik Ganga, an adjacent basin also facing water supply and quality challenges. Key factors positioning GWP Sri Lanka to play a part in organising these committees are knowledge of IWRM, and experience in setting up area water partnerships and promoting river basin organisations. The new committees, although currently focused on improving the supply and quality of drinking water, provide an opportunity to promote IWRM approaches, and emphasise the importance of basinlevel organisation and management.