'Systematic water management protected harvest'
'Sufficient paddy harvest for next six months':
Over 90 percent of harvest has been protected due to systematic water
management by the authorities even though the country is affected by a
drought. The Irrigation and Water Management Ministry expects only a
nine percent of harvest to be affected, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva
Minister de Silva
He said the ministry will present a Cabinet paper to provide relief
to farmers affected by the drought and farmers who abandoned their
The minister was addressing a press conference at the Sri Lanka
Mahaweli Centre yesterday. Minister de Silva assured a good harvest can
be expected this season due to prudent water management.
"There is sufficient paddy harvest to last for the next six months,"
the minister said.
"Farmers were made aware through ministry officers to reduce
cultivation due to low water levels in reservoirs. Many paid heed but a
few farmers went ahead with their cultivation. It is these cultivations
that have been affected by the drought in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and
some parts of Kurunegala district," he said.
Water reservoirs under the Irrigation Department had adequate water
levels while reservoirs under the Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority had low
levels of water at the beginning of the Yala season. Therefore 207,500
hectares under the Irrigation Department and 85,000 hectares under the
Mahaweli Authority were expected to be cultivated. Taking into account,
water levels at the moment and expected rain, the authorities recommend
to cultivate only 40 percent of paddy and another 40 percent with
subsidiary crops, the minister said.
Areas using water from Kotmale and Polgolla reservoirs are
experiencing a dry spell from May to date, de Silva said.
Water in these reservoirs are very low compared to the previous year.
Authorities have given priority to provide drinking water and for other
domestic use, he said.
The ministry had launched several awareness programme in this regard.
Around 8,100 farmers will be deployed to renovate some irrigation tanks
under a 10 day programme. They will be provided Rs 5,000 for 10 days.
They will work at Tabbowa, Usgama-Siyambalangamuwa, Nachchaduva and
Ridiyagama irrigation sites, de Silva said.
Ministry Secretary Ivan de Silva, Additional Secretary H M
Jayathilake and Dam Safety and Water Resources Planning Project - Sri
Lanka Project Director Sudharma Elakanda were also present.