Protection and restoration of urban lakes are receiving increasing attention in various cities across the world. These lakes provide a variety of services to urban residents. Many urban lakes, unfortunately, end up being heavily polluted as cities struggle for space for population expansion, economic growth and waste disposal. Designing effective policy solutions towards urban lake management in rapidly developing cities is often challenging due to conflicting policy priorities in the urban context, and often limited by the power dynamics between different stakeholders involved.
Efforts to ensure the sustainability of policy solutions towards urban lake management necessitates that these solutions are designed with due consideration of the complex socio-political and cultural landscape within which these lakes are situated. This talk traces the evolution of integrated policy efforts towards lake pollution mitigation in Kandy lake, Sri Lanka. Kandy is a UNESCO world heritage city and the Kandy lake has high social, cultural and political significance due to its long-standing history and its location next to the sacred Buddhist Temple of the Tooth ‘Sri Dalada Maligawa’. Sharing experiences from a project on Kandy lake pollution management, the talk will reflect on the challenges and lessons for policy design in such complex and sensitive policy contexts.