Engineering Faculty of University of Moratuwa is a well-established entity, leading the arena of technical education in the country. The Faculty at present comprises 12 academic departments, over 200 academic staff and around 3500 undergraduate and postgraduate students and offers Bachelor of the Science of Engineering degree in 9 disciplines and a a large number of post-graduate degrees. The UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Centre is affiliated with the Faculty of Engineering and is found to host the cross faculty and interdisciplinary water management course.
The existence of water is essential for life on earth. Although 70% of the earth surface is covered with water, less than 1% of this is available as drinking water and other needs of the 7 billion human population and all the other species. This limited capacity coupled with industrialization where water has also become much accepted renewable source of electricity generation, different political and institutional governance structures unique for each country etc., have made water resource management extremely complex. Prior to industrialization, water had been used predominantly for agriculture. Industrialization had resulted not only water pollution but also climate change which in turn had led to drought conditions. Ultimately there is a stiff completion for sharing of water between agriculture, industry and humans which has become difficult to manage.
Arising with the above described complexity, the Centre and its program have evolved addressing topics that include a broad range of application trends and are catering to the most pressing requirements such as water infrastructure, irrigation, water resources engineering and management, climate change, flood risk assessment and mitigation, trends in GIS and remote sensing, and industry applications and gap filling.
Furthering in this context, the Water Conference organized by the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Centre for South Asia Water Management of the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka will certainly demonstrate the strength of water engineering and management capability through case study applications. This forum where dissemination of the research projects and project based learning through case studies undertaken by the participants of the International Master’s program on Water Resources Engineering and Management is scheduled to take place, is timely to Sri Lanka and the South Asian countries because of the prevailing drought conditions.
There is a need for the industry to step up contributing towards research and training and I hope that this Conference will be successful platform not only for knowledge sharing and dissemination, but also in developing industry links and collaborations much needed in pursuing its future goals and aspirations.
Prof. K.K.C.K. Perera
Dean, Faculty of Engineering