HOSPITALITY INSIDER – Shangri-la Hotel, Colombo partnered with UNDP to commemorate World Water Day 2019 by protecting cascades in the dry zone. The hotel pledged to plant 800 trees to protect the Mahadhodanaththewa tank in the Madde Ramabawa Cascade in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka.
An ancient network of tanks connected by canals to reservoirs was built by the kings of Sri Lanka to collect and redistribute rain water. Through a cascading system water was collected and preserved for re-use. Despite the importance of these water bodies, neglect has left many tanks in need of revitalization and upgrades.
In a statement, the hotel highlighted that deforestation has also made the affected areas dryer and increased difficulties for communities and animals alike. Farmers, crops and the community are all impacted. As well as an increase in human-elephant conflict caused by animals making their way towards villages in search of water.
The Government of Sri Lanka, is implementing the ‘Climate Resilient Integrated Water Management Project’ (CRIWMP) with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme. This seven year project will target vulnerable households in three river basins that are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The chosen areas are the Malwathu Oya, Mi Oya, and Yan Oya (rivers) – which flows through the Northern part of the Dry Zone. As well having a high portion of small-holder farming populations who are dependent on irrigation and cascade systems for their livelihoods, the areas also lack safe drinking water.
The Project has planted almost 10,000 trees in the last three months and aims to reach one million trees by the end of the Project cycle.
Speaking on this initiative, the General Manager and Executive Vice President of Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo Mr. Timothy Wright said in a statement, ”We are humbled to be associated with such a partnership as it not only helps the environment, it also helps to improve the soil quality, increase shade and provide biomass, all of which can help in growing food crops in the future. This kind of symbiosis in sustainable development mechanisms to preserve and restore a site’s natural ecosystem always stands firm in the ethos of Shangri-La.”