Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Project : Heralds prosperity to Northern farmers | Sunday Observer

Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Project : Heralds prosperity to Northern farmers

Moragahakanda Reservoir
Moragahakanda Reservoir

As the latest development on the final phase of the Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Development Project (MKDP) aiming at transferring water to the Northern Province, a pre-feasibility study on diverting part of the Kelani River or any other river, including Mee Oya, to the Wemedilla reservoir is being conducted, project officials told the Sunday Observer. This is to ensure an uninterrupted flow of water to the Wemedilla reservoir that will feed the Wayamba Canal heading North, considering the change in rainfall patterns in the region due to global warming and other reasons, the sources said.

Much headway has been made on the ambitious project that heralds prosperity to farmers of the North-Central and the Northern Provinces. The construction of the Moragahakanda Reservoir has already been completed and 80 percent work on the construction of the Kaluganga Reservoir completed, Project Director Eng.D.B.Wijeyaratne stationed in Moragahakanda told the Sunday Observer. Work is expected to be completed before 2024 and the irrigation canals will pass through Manakattiya, Eruwewa, Mahakandarawa and other agricultural areas in the Anuradhapura district.

The augmentation project of the Iranamadu reservoir in Kilinochchi, to increase the reservoir’s water capacity from the present 131 MCM to 148 MCM and raising the water level from the present 34 feet to 36 feet is nearing completion , according to project officials in Kilinochchi.

The reservoir project costing Rs.2,000 million has been funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) while the canal rehabilitation project costing Rs.3,200 million has already been completed with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the sources said.

Construction work on the 9 km water transfer tunnel, in the mountainous terrain from the Kaluganga Reservoir linking the 72 km canal from the Moragahakanda reservoir was inaugurated by President Maithripala Sirisena on July 22, 2018.

The President last year ( January 11, 2017 ) inaugurated the filling of water to the Moragahakanda reservoir. The Rs.103,000 m. (675 million US$) mega project is second only to the Victoria Dam/Hydro Power Project and six times the size of the Parakrama Samudra. At the final phase of implementation, the surplus water in the Mahaweli basin will be transferred to the Chenmadukulam Tank in the Kanagarayankulam basin.

The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This, eventually, will fulfil the Northern people’s long-awaited need of water for drinking and domestic use, aside from their agricultural requirements. Under the North Western Province Canal Project (NWPC), it is proposed to transfer 130 MCM of water from Dambulu Oya, through the Nalanda Wemedilla complex to the Upper Mee Oya system and Hatwatuna Oya scheme in the North Western Province (NWP). Under the Left Bank Canal Rehabilitation Project (MLBCRP) it is proposed to raise the Minipe anicut by 3.5 metres to improve water availability in the Minipe Left bank. With the completion of the first stage of the MKDP, 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 developed under the project. Cropping intensity will be enhanced from 100% to 154% in the development area. With the implementation of the project it will 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 monetary terms. The average annual fish production potential of the reservoirs is estimated at approximately, 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.