Kaluganga, elixir of life for the people | Sunday Observer

Kaluganga, elixir of life for the people

The Moragahakanda - Kalu Ganga Multi-Purpose Development Project
The Moragahakanda - Kalu Ganga Multi-Purpose Development Project

Silver streaks of water from the gigantic Kalu Ganga Reservoir project flowed down to irrigate arid lands in several districts in the country on Thursday when President Maithripala Sirisena opened the sluice gates of the reservoir constructed under the mega Moragahakanda - Kalu Ganga Multi-Purpose Development Project, considered to be the irrigation marvel of the 21st Century.

Addressing the gathering, President Sirisena said Moragahakanda – Kalu Ganga Multi-Purpose Development Project will become the most beneficial development activity to the people of the country. He added that the ability to hand over Moragahakanda – Kalu Ganga Project to the nation during his tenure is a fulfillment of a great aspiration of the farming community and realisation of a personal dream.

The President also handed over newly constructed line institutes in Ambana new town to the residents. They included a new hospital, Samurdhi Bank, Govi Jana Service Center and bus-stand in addition to the houses constructed at a cost of Rs. 1200 million.

The water capacity of the Kalu Ganga Reservoir is 248 million cubic metres and the length and the height of the main dam is 618 metres and 68 metres respectively.

The project will meet the water demands of 3,000 families who have been resettled at the lower valley of Kaluganga. It will supply water to nurture 2,000 acres of irrigation land and the excess water will be released to the Moragahakanda reservoir. A 9- metre wide canal has been constructed for the purpose.

The project will be instrumental in developing agricultural activities by increasing the water supply to old Amban Ganga, Yodha Ela via Minneriya, Giritale, Kawudulla and Kantale. This will also enable 40,000 families to cultivate in both Yala and Maha seasons.

The Moragahakanda - Kalu Ganga Multi-Purpose Development Project, a brainchild of President Sirisena was completed as the final project of the Mahaweli Development Program.

As the latest development on the final phase of the Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Development Project 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. 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.

President Sirisena said that the construction of Wayamba canal which supply water to north west, the Upper Elahera canal which provide water to North and the Minipe canal will have to be expedited.

The Mahaweli Development Project, which served the nation for four decades, will continue to fertile our land for many more years, said the President, adding that he was fortunate to take the lead to complete the Moragahakanda project as the largest agricultural development project of the country.

He said that he had witnessed the struggle of the farmers for water and land. Moragahakanda provides solution to a long- standing issue faced by our farmers. President paid his gratitude to all those who contributed their fair share to realise his dream of the successful completion of this project.

Project Director Eng. D.B.Wijeyaratne stationed in Moragahakanda told the Sunday Observer that 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 131 Million Cubic Metres (MCM )to 148 MCM and raising the water level from 34 feet to 36 feet is nearing completion.

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 been completed with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The Kaluganga Development Project is being implemented by the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment with the financial assistance of Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).

The Kaluganga Reservoir has a capacity of 265 MCM of water and will divert 100 MCM annually to the Moragahakanda Reservoir. Under this project, it is expected to develop new irrigable lands of nearly 3,000 ha in the Kaluganga Basin.

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 Sirisena in July 2018. The Rs.103,000 million 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, eventually, will fulfill 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 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.