Collaborative Water Research and Consultancy Projects
It is a common feature for the state to award consultancy projects for water infrastructure planning, design, construction and maintenance. These consultants are always filtered for their experience and qualifications in a required area of expertise.
Consultant reports are usually not backed by literature support that has the relevance to the country specific applications. It could also be note that these reports are not open to the public and hence the third party evaluations of outputs carried out by respective agencies cannot be valued.
In recent years many water infrastructure projects which had been planned, designed and constructed by the government with respective agency approvals and with national planning department approvals have been challenged in the parliament of Sri Lanka as unacceptable. If the water infrastructure projects can be supported with research results based methods, parameters and guidelines then it will lead to a massive saving of National finances, thereby leading to a reduction in the burden of tax payers.
The correct water infrastructure development needs to be on the foundations of tools, values and methods backed and verified by sufficient research. It is noteworthy that the collaborative water research projects funded by water agencies are a rarity. In this, one must not confuse consultancy projects awarded to the universities as research projects.
Therefore, a policy recommendation from UMCSAWM to the State Water Agencies is to have a significant financial allocation and a sufficient commitment from their research divisions to commence collaborative research projects with the universities of repute for water management and water infrastructure development.