Kamal Ram Joshi, Senior Divisional Hydrologist
Water and Energy Commission Secretariat Government of Nepal
Project Implementing Unit Head
Bagmati River basin Improvement Projects
The Network of Asian River Basin Organizations (NARBO) organized the 8th IWRM Training in Thulhiriya, Sri Lanka from 27 November-4 December, 2013 hosted by Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka (MASL). The training aimed to develop the capacity in IWRM implementation by using the ‘IWRM Spiral Model’ which was introduced as part of the “IWRM Guidelines at River Basin Level” issued by UNESCO in 2009. The training theme was “Enhanced Water Security Through IWRM - Mahaweli Experience”. Around 26 water resource management participants from 11 countries from various river basin organizations and governments attended the training and shared their experiences.
The 7th day (3rd December 2013) training programme started with the presentation by the NARBO Senior Advisor Mr. Tjoek Walujo Subijanto from Indonesia. He discussed on a topic of IWRM implementation and capacity building in River Basin Organization (RBO) with an example of a case study of Brantas River Basin, East Java, Indonesia. He briefed about the Brantas River basin development activities for a 30 year period (from 1960 to 1990), which was after the preparation of comprehensive Water Resource Development Plan in 1960. Seven dams and reservoirs, four river-improvement-schemes, six barrages and gates, and three rubber dams etc. were constructed for flood control, irrigation, power generation, and water supply. He also mentioned about the problems after construction, how they were solved, and the key for success of the IWRM implementation in the Brantas River Basin. The main reason for success was due to the water resource management undertaken in integrated, comprehensive and sustainable manner. It was based on the principle of One River (Basin), One (Integrated) Plan, and One (Coordinated System of) Management. Mr. Tjoek Walujo Subijanto emphasized that the major strategies adopted for the successful completion of the work were: to gain government trust to get political support & appropriate legal frameworks; to develop appropriate management system and technical competences; to gain customer satisfaction to generate adequate & sustainable source of funding and utilize them effectively, efficiently and accountably; and to empower stakeholders to promote their positive participation.
The Second lecture was on performance benchmark indicators applied in Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka (MASL) explained by Mr. Chula Wellappili, Director, Planning & Monitoring, MASL. MASL was one of the river basins covered by NARBO’s pilot implementation programme. He briefed about how the self assessment of performance by RBO itself was moderated by peer review team from NARBO based on balance score card to access the performance area, objective and the indicators. He also mentioned that the basic steps for the benchmarking are: i) self-assessment of RBO's present performance; ii) setting targets for future performance in each business area; iii) formulation of plans to reach the targets; and iv) peer review and assessment of plans for organizational improvement. NARBO may assist and initiate all the above mentioned steps. Based on the result found in MASL the approach was considered useful for the evaluation.
Similarly, lessons from the NARBO peer review of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), Philippines was presented by Ms. Dolora N. Nepomuceno, Assistant General Manager, LLDA. In her presentation she highlighted about the basic features of Laguna de Bay and its watershed, the LLDA Self-Assessment and its process, NARBO performance benchmarking of pilot River basin organizations, and lessons and recommendations for RBO and the peer review itself.
She shared with us about the peer review which indicated that LLDA was already performing well in most of the five critical performance areas scoring high in 10 out of the 14 indicators. The Peer Review suggested that LLDA needs to do more in areas of basin livelihoods, technical development, water allocation and cost recovery. She also emphasized that in over-all assessment the LLDA obtained the highest rating in terms of Key Performance area among the four pilot RBOs (Jasa Tirta 2 in Indonesia, Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, Laguna Lake Development Authority in the Philippine & Red River Basin Organization in Viet Nam). Likewise, the mandates and functions of LLDA are fully supported by enabling laws, staff training is well organized and structured, stakeholders’ consultation/participation is the best among the RBOs, and the laboratory and decision support system is impressive which support the needs of LLDA. It was recommended that LLDA should move forward from a regulatory agency to IWRM oriented agency.
After the presentation, rest of the day was assigned for the preparation for the presentation of group work. Most of the participants prepared their presentation on time. Therefore, the organizer arranged a visit programme to Colombo so that they can be familiar and have an overview about the capital city of Sri Lanka.
Presentation and discussion on performance benchmarking was informative. Interactions among the participants and presenters during the presentation were very good and useful. The training was educational and enhanced participants’ knowledge because of the new practical experiences shared by the experts on IWRM and associated issues along with performance benchmarking lesson from the NARBO member countries, which are actually in operation at present. I strongly believe that the information shared and discussed on the performance benchmarking lessons from Sri Lanka and Philippines will no doubt contribute to fulfill the aims of the training participants at their home countries.