Source to Delta: in alliance with urban and agriculture sectors

The session on “From Source to Delta: Collaboration with urban and agricultural stakeholders” was held on 4 December 2019 from 10.30-12 noon at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The session “From Source to Delta: Collaboration with urban and agricultural stakeholders” being held at the four days Water and Development Congress and Exhibition held from 1-4 December organised by International Water Association (IWA). It consisted of a panel discussion facilitating the provision of different perspectives based on experiences from Source to Sea conducted by Marlos DeSouza from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Indika Gunawardana, Fany Wedahuditama and Lal Induruwage represented Cap-Net and GWP Pan Asia, Ashish Bhardwaj from Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and Katharine Cross from Basin-Connected Cities (IWA). Chris Dickens, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Chaired the session. The workshop attended approximately by 15 participants representing different sectors and countries. 

The round table discussion was held to explore the key barriers to urban and rural stakeholders on the way to integrate their water management approaches and potential leverage points and policies to overcome those barriers in order to close the rural-urban division in water management. In addition, to ascertain the methods that would combine various approaches i.e. Source-to-Sea (S2S) and Learning Deltas Asia Initiative (LDAI) that are already in place and enable better knowledge exchange. Fany as the moderator of the discussion gave an overview about the proposed Delta Knowledge Hub as a tool to bridge the urban-rural division in water management, at the beginning of the discussion.

GWP and Cap-Net by referring the scoping phase of LDAI, highlighted the knowledge and capacity gaps among rural and urban communities, lack of access to accurate and reliable data sources and awareness on compatible technologies that could be used to resolve the issues related to urban and rural water management as berries in the region. Integrated planning and partnerships in projects and involving stakeholders at either ground or upper levels appropriately were discussed as key pathways for actions by giving prominence to Peer-to-Peer learning. Both GWP and Cap-Net informed the participants that LDAI Phase II, the expected knowledge hub would be a compilation of existing scattered knowledge and technologies in one place that meant for raising awareness of stakeholders.


The session was built on events over the past two years, which have helped to develop and activate the Action Agenda for Basin-Connected Cities of IWA, the FAO approach to S2S Management and LDAI launched by GWP. The Basin-Connected Cities Agenda builds on the Principles for Water Wise Cities while the Action Agenda for Basin-Connected Cities aims to influence and activate utilities, cities and their industries to become water stewards (e.g. raising awareness of global water stewardship movement, standard an applicability amongst stakeholders) working with basin and catchment organisations.

S2S aims to support the sustainable development of national or shared river basins from the source (usually highland/mountainous areas) to the discharge into coastal regions. Flows can be characterised as either positive or negative, with associated management objectives to enhance or restore positive flows (e.g. biodiversity, ecosystem services and high-quality water) or reduce negative flows (e.g. pollution, sediments, plastics) across landscapes/seascapes.

Deltas as an important component in S2S management, the workshop integrates the learnings from Learning Delta Asia Initiative (LDAI) of GWP. LDAI primarily aims for increased south-south cooperation and knowledge exchanges on adaptation to climate change and building resilience in urban Deltas. It stimulates increased cooperation among Deltaic countries and stakeholders who are involved in the governance of deltas by strengthening a science-policy interface. Deltas as an important component in S2S management, learnings and knowledge exchanges in multi-stakeholder platforms will positively impact on developing climate resilient actions in the Basin Connected Cities.