As the waters flow | Daily News

As the waters flow

Kalu Ganga Reservoir vested with the people

Kalu Ganga Reservoir of the gigantic Moragahakanda-Kalu Ganga Project will be vested with the people by President Maithripala Sirisena today (January 8), the day that marks the completion of the fourth anniversary of his Executive Presidency. This pet project of President Sirisena will transfer the much-needed water for agriculture and drinking water purposes to the dry zone areas of the North Central and Northern Provinces, in addition, some areas in the Central Province.

The construction of the Kalu Ganga Reservoir under the government’s far-reaching and ambitious Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Development Project (MKDP) has already been completed. Construction work on the 9.1 km water transfer tunnel, in the mountainous terrain from the Kaluganga reservoir linking the 72 km canal from the Moragahakanda reservoir passing through the agricultural areas of Manakkattiya, Eruwewa and Mahakandarawa in the Anuradhapura district has already commenced.

Sri Lanka, primarily an agricultural nation, marks a significant milestone today (January 8) when the waters of the last but largest reservoir of multipurpose Mahaweli Project at Kalu Ganga will release waters to irrigate parched drylands in the Rajarata, Wayamba, Central and Eastern Provinces on one hand and faraway Vanni in the Northern Province on the other.

The release of water from the Kalu Ganga - Moragahakanda reservoirs, which is six times larger than the gigantic Parakrama Samudraya, constructed centuries ago by King Parakramabahu the Great to make our country self-sufficient in rice, fulfils the needs of farmers in a large part of the country. This also marks the completion of the Mahaweli Multipurpose Project of which the first project at Polgolla in the Central Province by the then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike on January 8, 1976.

Although the bulk of the work was done during the UNP regime under the accelerated Mahaweli programme, the last phase-that of the Kalu Ganga-Moragahakanda project was considerably delayed due to various reasons.

President Maithripala Srisena succeeded in obtaining the government approval and initiated the Kalu Ganga-Moragahakanda project, which was a dream vision of his in 2007. Immediately thereafter, he ran into difficulties starting with non-availability of funds. Undeterred, he continued his struggle and finally, he could take effective steps to accelerate the project when he became the Executive President four years ago.

The Kalu Ganga reservoir is a large gravity dam and the second vital component of the Kalu Ganga Moragahakanda Project that was constructed at a cost of Rs. 2,300 million, which is almost three times the entire cost of the previous projects of the accelerated Mahaweli Multipurpose Project.

The capacity of Kalu Ganga reservoir is 265 million cubic meters and will divert 100 million cubic meters a year to the Moragahakanda Reservoir. The reservoir will irrigate 3,000 hectares in the Kaluganga basin.

Water from both, the Moragahakanda and Kalu Ganga reservoirs, will be primarily used to support agricultural needs to an area of at least 81,422 hectares. This will increase rice production by 81% or 109,000 tons, amounting to an estimated monetary benefit of US$1.67 million, annually. In addition to irrigation of land, water from the Moragahakanda Reservoir generates 25-megawatt power at the Moragahakanda Hydroelectric Power Station.

The Kalu Ganga irrigation scheme is a historic turning point of the country’s agricultural and irrigation development component, since the time of our great ancient kings.

With the Moragahakanda scheme is connected to the Kaluganga project, the water scarcity in North Central, Eastern and North Western areas including the North would be solved to a greater extent. It will irrigate an extent of 185,000 hectares of agricultural land and the farmers will have adequate water for cultivation both in the Yala and Maha seasons.

President Sirisena said the implementation of the Moragahakanda-Kalu Ganga Irrigation Development Project is not only a fulfilment of a long-awaited aspiration of the farmers but also a personal dream, come true for him.

Under the second stage of the project, the North Central Province canal (NCP canal) will be constructed which would irrigate 135,189 ha of new and prevailing agricultural lands for both seasons, in eight river basins in the North and North Central Provinces. Eight new tanks will be constructed in the eight river basins in the area.

Similarly, in the Kurunegala District, the North Western Province canal (NWP canal) will be constructed which will nourish two tanks under this canal and 11 other tanks will be developed for providing irrigation facility to thousands of areas of agricultural lands in the area, both, during the Maha and the Yala seasons. Over 1.2 million people belonging to the districts of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Kurunegala, Matale and Puttalam will be benefited under the project since the requirement of water for the irrigation of their agricultural lands and drinking water will be provided under the project 100 per cent, throughout the year.

It will also contribute to the establishment of several tourist destinations, with all facilities, including, state-of-the-art hospitality arrangements, luxury boat services and a cable car system. It is also planned to introduce new varieties of paddy and other crops that will withstand changing weather patterns due to climate change, which in turn, would contribute to increased productivity to the value of several billions of rupees.

The Moragahakanda-Kalu Ganga Project will fulfil the Northern people’s long-awaited need for water for drinking and domestic use. The project will also help towards further uplifting the socio-economic welfare of the people of the North, ravaged by nearly 30 years of conflict. In addition, the project will provide safe drinking water to a large population that suffers now from drought and lack of safe drinking water, according to authoritative sources.

Furthermore, initially, about 12,000 large and small tanks would be renovated, starting from Huruluwewa and extending to Nachchiduwawewa, Tisawewa, Nuwarawewa and Mahakantharawawewa. The length of the canal would be 96 km which includes the 26 km tunnel, and the project was started on January 1, 2017. The cost is estimated to be US $ 450 million, according to the sources. The North-Western canal program will encompass Kurunegala, Galewewa and Matale regions, and the length of the canal will be 93 km. About 300 large and small tanks will be fed under the program to provide irrigation facility to 12,500 hectares of agricultural land and drinking water to 40,000 families. The cost of the project is estimated to be US $ 200 million.


 

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