Abstract: Flood management is governed by complex social, economic, and environmental factors. However conventional flood management often ignores this complexity. Conventional approaches have focused on “taming the flood” with hard engineering techniques that have increased the long-term overall flood risks in watersheds. In this seminar I will analyse the past century of conventional flood management projects in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where every new generation of flood managers has inherited a more intransigent flood problem from their predecessors. I will highlight the governance process which enabled this conventional flood management approach to continue, despite repeated failure. Finally I will examine emergent strands of flood management, including “environmentally responsible risk management”, “ecological disaster risk reduction”, and “natural and nature based flood management”, and discuss the governance barriers to their successful adoption in emerging developing countries such as Sri Lanka.
Biography: Dr. Missaka Hettiarachchi is a Senior Fellow in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Environment and Disaster Management program. He was a principle contributor in developing WWF’s Flood Green Guide Framework and has also worked on post-disaster environmental planning and management in many countries including Haiti, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines. Missaka is also actively involved in research on environmental governance in Australia and Sri Lanka.