SL-based IWMI wins world's most prestigious Water Prize
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), headquartered in
Pelawatte, Battaramulla, has been named the Stockholm Water Prize
Laureate for 2012.
Awarded by the Stockholm International Water Institute, this
prestigious prize, honours individuals, institutions or organizations
whose work contributes broadly to the conservation and protection of
water resources and to the improved health of the planet's inhabitants
IWMI is the first international research institution to have received
this accolade, IWMI Director General Colin Chartres said.
The Director General said, "We are delighted that the hard work of
everyone at IWMI had been recognized in this way. This is unquestionably
the single most important international award in the water sector. To
have won it, is outstanding and a testament to the professionalism and
dedication of everyone at IWMI, past and present."
IWMI, the only international organization headquartered in Sri Lanka,
was founded in 1985 as an irrigation management institute and later
expanded its activities to explore more broadly how the needs of various
water users could be met to help alleviate poverty, protect the
environment and improve food security.
IWMI currently employs over 300 staff and has regional offices in 10
In Sri Lanka, the Institute has worked actively with many partners in
the water sector to address such pressing issues as sustainable
groundwater use, improved farm productivity and adaptation strategies
for climate change.
After the tsunami in 2004, IWMI research helped accelerate well
rehabilitation in affected areas.
The awards committee praised IWMI's work as having led to 'new
policies and investments in agriculture that had not only enabled more
productive use of water, but had enhanced food security, economic
development and environmental health around the world.'
Welcoming the award, Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh
Gunawardena, said, "I heartily congratulate the Board of Governors and
staff members of IWMI for this well-deserved accolade. Sri Lanka is
proud to be the host to a leading global institution like IWMI and it
clearly demonstrates that our scientists, in partnership with their
international colleagues, are at the cutting edge of new thinking on
"Sri Lanka has placed the management of water resources as a high
priority since ancient times. Evidence of this is apparent when looking
at our ancient irrigation systems, which had captured the attention of
the world. Establishment of the headquarters of the
International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Colombo was an
obvious choice for these reasons. This gave the opportunity for IWMI to
gain lessons from our ancient irrigation successes, as well as being
able to bring international experts to assist with our current water
challenges and developments.
We have seen IWMI grow into a world-renowned scientific research
centre, and their findings have significantly contributed to water
resources policies in Sri Lanka and across Asia and Africa where the
On behalf of the Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and ministry Secretary, Eng. K. W. Ivan
de Silva, also spoke.
The prize will be presented to IWMI through Dr Chartres during World
Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, in August, 2012.
The announcement of the award comes on World Water Day (March 22),
which is also the launch date for a new global campaign to bring people
together to develop water solutions that create jobs, grow more food,
keep us healthy and protect nature (see www.RipplesOnWater.org ).
The 'Ripples on Water' campaign will be launched in Sri Lanka through
a unique coming together of art, science and development with a laser
and water dance spectacular.
This event will be held this week in Colombo's only open air theatre
the Viharamahadevi Park on March 23 and 24.