Advancing towards a flourishing future | Daily News
Moragahakanda, Wayamba development projects

Advancing towards a flourishing future

Pursuant to the launch of the Moragahakanda Multipurpose Development Project in early January, the Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry, together with the Mahaweli Authority and related implementing agencies, had launched development initiatives that would further the benefits accrued from the Mahaweli Development project via the flow of Mahaweli water, to regions subjected to vagaries in weather patterns.

The North Western (Wayamba) Province Irrigation Canal Project had been initiated in order to ensure the provision of a continuous and steady water supply to the Anuradhapura, Kurunegala and Matale districts, which had been traditional agricultural basins throughout the history of the country.

Addressing longstanding issues

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) had partnered the government in respect of three key components of the development initiative; namely the Upper Elahera project, Wayamba Province Irrigation Scheme, and the Minipe Left Bank Rehabilitation.

The project, which is to be implemented by 2024, would serve as a key component of the development work under the Moragahakanda Multipurpose Development Project in the said three districts, under two stages.

The project area covers the Dambulla, Naulla and Galewela Divisional Secretariat divisions in the Matale district; the Palagala Divisional Divisional Secretariat division in the Anuradhapura district; and the Polpithigama, Mahawewa, Ehetuwewa, Ambanpola and Galgamuwa Divisional Secretariat divisions in the Kurunegala district.

In the North Western Province, the project would primarily focus on the northern areas, to address longstanding issues such as water scarcity.

Strengthening reservoir networks

During the first stage of the North Western (Wayamba) Province Irrigation Canal Project, a sum of Rs.16 billion would be disbursed to divert 105,000 acre-feet of Mahaweli water to the northern areas of the Kurunegala district, annually.

Twelve thousand five hundred hectares of land would also be cultivated to aid over 13,000 farmer families. The overall supply of water to the referred areas would be over 130 million cubic metres of water, of which 10 percent would be treated for drinking water supply.

More than 40,000 families in the areas would benefit overall, and the project would serve in the long run, to alleviate incidences of kidney disease as well as other water-borne illnesses prevalent in areas such as Polpithigama, and Nikawewa.

The Wayamba Province Irrigation Scheme would also serve to implement sub-schemes which would strengthen water reservoirs in Galewela, Wemadilla and Dewahuwa, and feed Mahaweli water to eight main tanks and 353 small tanks in the Mee Oya, Hakwatuna Oya and Kala Oya valley basins in the Central Province. It would be facilitated by setting up irrigation channels totalling 92 km in length.

Infrastructure development

Mahaweli water which would be diverted from the Lenadora-Dambulu Oya, would flow via the left side of Wemedilla embankment to the Maha Kithula and Maha Giriulla reservoirs. The water would thereafter be supplied through two main irrigation resources: the Maha Girillula reservoir to the Kaduru Wewa in Ehetuwewa, over a distance of 21 km and from the Maha Kithula reservoir to the Mediyawa tank, over a distance of 20 km.

Yapahuwa residents in a 1,000-acre land would also benefit from water from the Mediyawa irrigation canal over a distance of around 10 km, providing opportunities to undertake cultivation during both the Yala and Maha seasons.

In order to reach the above goals, the project would develop the required infrastructure in two phases. The main constructions activities would include while setting up a canal system totalling 96 km, construction of a sluice gate for the Wemedilla reservoir, construction of the Maha Kithula, Maha Giriulla and Dambe reservoirs, as well as construction of three tunnels: Ranwediyawa (400 metres), Neelagama (1000 metres) and Mahakithula (550 metres).

Minimising environmental impact

A critical and noteworthy factor relating to the said development work, are the stringent measures, as well as the commitment of Government of Sri Lanka, to minimise environmental impact while taking measures to sustain biodiversity at all locations where project activities are implemented.

The initial actions in this regard, had been taken through two biodiversity studies undertaken with assistance from EML Ltd. and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at the design stage of the Moragahakanda – Kalu Ganga Reservoir Project.

Flora and fauna, as well as fish that would be at risk due to the North Western Province Canal Project, would be relocated. The management of upper watersheds of the reservoirs being set up and renovated under the project, would be important components pursued in efforts to mitigate vulnerabilities caused by climate change in the Kurunegala, Matale and Anuradhapura districts. 


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