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An assessment of social and environmental implications of agricultural water pollution in Nuwara Eliya


H.P. Henegama,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About H.P.
Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture
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N.D.K. Dayawansa ,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About N.D.K.
Department of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture
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Saliya De Silva

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Saliya
Department of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture,
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Agriculture-related water pollution is a serious concern in major agricultural areas in the country. This study was conducted with the objective of reviewing the existing situation of agricultural activities and their implications on the environment and society in Nuwara Eliya Divisional Secretariat Division. A questionnaire survey with 50 households in 15 Grama Niladhari divisions was conducted in the year 2008 for gathering information on nature of fertilizer and agro-chemical use, land management practices, condition of water sources and socio-economic and environmental implications of water pollution. The study revealed that the majority of sample farmers in the study area are engaged in unacceptable agricultural activities. Root crops and vegetables are mainly cultivated at two to four times per year without proper soil conservation practices. The fertilizer and pesticide rates applied by the farmers are highly variable but in some occasions about 10 times higher than the rates recommended by the Department of Agriculture. The riparian vegetation has been cleared in many places to gain land for cultivation, exposing the streams to agricultural runoff. It was revealed that drinking water sources of 45 % of the households surveyed are located in highly vulnerable areas for agricultural pollution. The main socioeconomic issues observed include loss of family income, health issues, psychological effects and effect on family wellbeing. The environmental implications observed include land degradation, soil erosion, sedimentation, water contamination and degradation of aesthetic value. In addition, the study identified that the organizations working on environment and water resources do not collaborate with each other and long term measures have not been taken to control the agricultural water pollution. Awareness creation on agricultural pollution and associated environmental issues is of key importance. A strong collaboration should be developed within the institutions involved in agriculture, environmental management and administrative activities in the area to formulate a sustainable agricultural system in the Nuwara Eliya district.

Tropical Agricultural Research Vol. 24 (4): 304-316 (2013)
How to Cite: Henegama, H.P., Dayawansa, N.D.K. and Silva, S.D., 2015. An assessment of social and environmental implications of agricultural water pollution in Nuwara Eliya. Tropical Agricultural Research, 24(4), pp.304–316. DOI:
Published on 28 Aug 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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