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A water crisis has a grim impact on Sri Lanka’s women, whose long list of household chores includes securing and managing the family’s water supply. In rural areas, that can include ensuring a steady source for the family’s crops.
Water expert Kusum Athukorala, chairwoman of the Colombo-based Network of Women Water Professionals (NetWater), says that the impact of scarce water resources on women is at the heart of the water issue. A shortage, she says, "makes their life harder and more so because they are not part of the decision-making process".
Just about 35 percent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people receive pipe-borne water provided by a state agency. The rest get their supply from wells, rivers or streams. Water for agriculture, mainly rice farming, is provided through a system of canals channeled from rivers and streams.