Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Project: Drinking water for Northern people | Sunday Observer

Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Project: Drinking water for Northern people

Moragahakanda reservoir will transfer the much needed water for agriculture and drinking water purposes to the dry zone areas of the North Central and Northern Provinces, during the course of its implementation in the coming years. In its final phase, the surplus water in the Mahaweli Basin will be diverted to the Chenmadukulam Tank in the Kanagarayan Kulam basin. The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The construction of the Moragahakanda reservoir under the government’s far-reaching and ambitious Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Development Project (MKDP) has already been completed and the construction of the Kaluganga reservoir is under way and will be completed in June this year, Program Director, Mahaweli Water Security Investment Program (MWSIP) Eng.K.R.Neil Bandara told the Sunday Observer.

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 will be started shortly, he said.

President Maithripala Sirisena on January 11, 2017 inaugurated the filling of water to the Moragahakanda reservoir at the auspicious time.

Drought

The Rs.103, 000 million (USD 675 million) mega project, second only to the Victoria Dam and Hydro Power Project and six times the size of the Parakrama Samudra, will transfer the much needed water for agriculture and drinking water purposes to the dry zone areas of the North Central and the Northern Provinces, during the course of its implementation in the coming years. In its final phase, the surplus water in the Mahaweli Basin will be transferred to the Chenmadukulam Tank in the Kanagarayan Kulam basin. The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

This, eventually, would fulfil the Northern people’s long-awaited need for water for drinking and domestic use. A modelling exercise is also being carried out under this project to assess the quantity of water that could be made available for the dry areas of the North Central and Northern Provinces.

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.

Meanwhile, the augmentation project of the Iranamadu reservoir for increasing the water capacity from the present 131 MCM to 148 MCM and raising the water level from the present 34 feet to 36 feet is now under way and will be completed end of next month, Project Director for the Iranamadu reservoir Eng.N.Suthakaran told the Sunday Observer.

The reservoir project, costing Rs.2,000 million has been funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) while the canal rehabilitation project, which has already been completed, costing Rs.3,200 million has been funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), he said. Under the North Western Province Canal Project (NWPC), it is proposed to transfer 130 MCM of water from Dambulu Oya and through the Nalanda Wemedilla complex to the upper Mi Oya system and the Hatwatuna Oya scheme in the North Western Province (NWP). Hence, it is proposed to build a 96 km canal from Wemedilla and Lenedora in the Matale District to connect Mahakithala and Mahakirula reservoirs in the NWP. Those two reservoirs, provide irrigation facilities to 13,000 ha.

Direct benefits

Under the Left Bank Canal Rehabilitation Project (MLBCRP) it is proposed to raise the Minipe anicut by 3.5 metres to improve the water availability in the Minipe Left Bank. With the completion of the first stage, i.e. the construction activities of the Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Development Project, it will be possible to provide irrigation water facilities to 82, 000 ha of lands for both Yala and Maha seasons, and domestic and industrial water to the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee and Matale districts. About 5,000 ha of new lands for agriculture will be opened up and developed under the project. Cropping intensity will be enhanced from 100% to 154% in the development area.

With the implementation of the project it would be increased up to 181% on an average. Direct benefits include, increased rice yield per hectare with an additional agricultural production of 123,000 tons annually. The net annual agricultural benefits will be US $ 30.1 million in monitory terms. The average annual fish production potential of the reservoirs is estimated to be around 4,700 tons per year, representing a net benefit US $ 1.67 million annually. The generation of 25 MW hydro-power under the project will contribute to the annual fuel cost savings to about Rs.1,545 million on an annual average, the sources said.

With the completion of the first stage construction activities of the Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Development Project, it will be able to provide irrigation water facilities to 82,000 ha of lands, for both, Yala and Maha seasons and domestic and industrial water to the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee and Matale districts. Here, about 5,000 ha of new lands for agriculture will be opened up and developed under the project.

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 percent, 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 sources said.

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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