Design and Pilot Testing of Performance-Based Management of Groundwater Use in Irrigation | Asian Development Bank

Design and Pilot Testing of Performance-Based Management of Groundwater Use in Irrigation

Project Result / Case Study | 30 June 2016

Agro-well based agriculture is on the rise in the dry zones of Sri Lanka, thus increasing their vulnerability to mismanaged groundwater resources. The Performance-Based Management approaches related to agricultural water management that are being developed in this activity can be extended to other agricultural areas in these zones. It can thus minimize the environmental risks to the groundwater dependent farmers in the dry zones of the country.


Project site Sri Lanka
Cost US$ 50,000
Status Completed
Approval date June 2016
Completion date June 2017
Category Rural
ADB officer K.M.Palitha S. Bandara
Partner International Water Management Institute


This PDA was created to design and test performance-based management of groundwater use in irrigation. Part of the aims was to support development of farm level water management strategies to minimize surface water irrigation demand for dry zone agricultural practices. The results provide recommendations for water institutions and agro-well users on sustainable ground water management for partial fulfillment of crop water demand and reduction of environmental hazards associated with ground water use.

The PDA involves a study of field level irrigation supply, crop water use, water percolated to recharge the phreatic surface, and ground water extraction to assess risks associated with agricultural use of groundwater in irrigated areas. In relation with study objectives, ground water pumping was reviewed in terms of energy consumption and environmental consequences.


The output expected is a Design of a Performance-Based Management of environmental risk minimization in irrigation.

The expected outcomes are capacity development of staff of MIWM, ID, MASL and, PID of NCP to:

  • Make irrigation schedules associated with ground water extraction while minimizing potential environmental hazards
  • Application of state of art remote sensing and GIS techniques for water use estimations.

The overall impact would be a reduced environmental risk of groundwater use in dry zone irrigation schemes.