The introduction of the water harvesting systems in Sri Lanka builds the rare chance to analyse the interrelationship between human and natural environment under a long-term perspective. Within the research project “Tanks in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka” researcher from physical geography, archaeology and social science analysed these interdependencies in a diachronic and interdisciplinary approach to gain information for its sustainable future development.
The project focused thereby on natural and cultural systems. Natural systems were assessed with regard to impacts of climate, land use and water management practices on water balance and sediment budget. The cultural system was predominantly investigated with a focus on the socio-economic conditions and the identity generating effects of the water harvesting systems in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, effects on natural and social resilience and vulnerability were assessed and traditional knowledge related to these systems were catalogued and evaluated in terms of its relevance for future management strategies.