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Water dwindles in Anuradhapura tanks

Water levels of tanks in the district continue to decline. The Nuwara Wewa, Tissa Wewa and Thuruwila Wewa are some of the affected reservoirs. They cater to a population of 300,000 in the Anuradhapura district, providing around 40,000 cubic metres of water per day.

Meanwhile, a tug-of-war continues between the Irrigation Department and the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWDSB) of the North Central Province (NCP) on whether top priority should be given to drinking water or irrigation water.

An NCP NWDSB spokesman told the Daily News that the present water capacity of the Nuwara, Tissa and Thuruwila tanks, were only adequate to supply water for about 60 days; a pressing matter considering that nearly one million devotees are expected to visit Anuradhapura during the state Poson festival during the final week of June.

“We have requested the Mahaweli Authority and the Mahaweli Water Management Committee, to provide 15,000 acre-feet of additional Mahaweli water to the aforementioned tanks in order to avoid any water crisis during the next three months,” the spokesman said, adding that the Irrigation Department had decided to provide water from the said tanks for the 2018 Yala season activities that in turn, could jeopardise the supply of drinking water.

A senior irrigation engineer, referring to the issue, said farmers were instructed to commence the cultivation of lands by utilising the limited rainwater available without depending on tank water alone.

It was also learnt that it had been planned to cultivate 75,000 hectares of land with paddy during the upcoming Yala season in the Anuradhapura district, provided that there would be satisfactory rainfall.