Responding to the drought situation faced by Dry Zone farmers, President Maithripala Sirisena has issued instructions to all the implementing agencies to accelerate the several irrigation projects connected to the multi-billion rupee Moragahakanda - Kalu Ganga multi-purpose river development plan to enable adequate irrigation water to reach drought affected areas as a priority. In the light of urgent needs, the President has ordered the release of stored water from several reservoirs to be directed to drought-affected areas with immediate effect.
According to officials of the Presidential Secretariat, the President was responding to the many appeals made by experts as well as community leaders of the northern and north-central regions given the persistent water shortages for decades.
Under the personal supervision of President Sirisena, the massive Moragahakanda-Kalu Ganga development project saw its culmination with the channelling much-needed water for drinking and cultivation to the people living in the Northern and North Central Provinces. This project primarily aims to meet agricultural and agro-industrial needs of this region. Under this mammoth project, the Wayamba Canal, North Central Giant’s Canal and, the Upper Elahera Canal development projects are sub-schemes that are currently underway and will be accelerated.
The Moragahakanda-Kalu Ganga River Development Project, launched in 2007, aims to serve both the population’s water requirements as well as the requirements for agro-industrial expansion in the North, North Central and Eastern Provinces. One objective is to ensure unhindered paddy cultivation in both Yala and Maha seasons.
As of today, this mega project has been extended to include the North Central Canal project as well in order to feed Wee Medilla Tank reservoir and subsequently channel the water storage to 303 small and medium scale tanks.
Accordingly, a 94 km long canal is being built from Moragahakanda to Nachchaduwa Tank under the North Central Giant’s Canal and Upper Elahera sub-projects. The project hopes to ensure uninterrupted water supply to 1600 more reservoirs including main tanks such as Nuwara Weva, Nachchaduwa Weva, Tisa Weva and Hurulu Wava, located in the Anuradhapura district. In addition, three more large reservoirs, namely Parakrama Samudra, Kawudulla Weva and Kanthale Weva are also to be fed with water channeled through the Amban Ganga which carries the bulk of the flow to Moragahakanda, Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee.
On President Sirisena’s instruction, steps have been already taken to release stocks of water from the Moragahakanda Tank project to the Minneriya area for irrigation. Project officials say that stocks of water have been already released expecting cultivation in the Yala Season by farming communities in the areas of Elahera, Minneriya, Kaudulla, and Kanthale
Feeding of the Kalu Ganga reservoir with water is also now nearing completion while 16 more tanks are also being saturated for cultivation by some 3000 affected farming families who earlier had lived in 24 villages but had been displaced due to the development project.