Severe drought in A’pura

A tank run dry in Anuradhapura. Picture by Nimal Wijesinghe, Anuradhapura Additional District Group Corr.

Prevailing drought in the Anuradhapura district is rising in intensity. According to weather forecasts, the Anuradhapura district would not receive heavy rains until the end of May.

Farmers who had lost their cultivations during the past three consecutive cultivation seasons, are undergoing hardships. Referring to the issue, Anuradhapura Government Agent R. M. Wanninayaka told the Daily News that it is necessary to confine paddy and additional crop cultivations to a limited landscape. Due to the drought, water levels of the tanks in the Anurdhapura district, are dwindling at the rate of 1.5 to 2 feet per month.

He said the Mahaweli water via the Kala Wewa is supplied only to the Hurulu Wewa, Nuwara Wewa, Tissa Wewa, Nachchaduwa and Thuruwila tanks, whereas other large and medium-scale tanks in the district are depending mainly on seasonal rainfall.

During the 2017 Yala Season, only 22,500 hectares of paddy lands were cultivated in the Anuradhapura district. In 2016, it had been only 26,700 hectares, while in 2015, the landscape area that came under paddy cultivation was 84,430 Wanninayake added.

Therefore, it had been planned to cultivate around 42,000 hectares of land with paddy, under the 13 major irrigation tanks and 60 minor tanks during the 2018 Yala Season, Wanninayaka said

However, after consulting the Irrigation Department, the cultivations to be carried out under the 83 medium-scale tanks could be decided soon. Steps would be taken to provide seed paddy and fertiliser subsidies to farmers, while top-priority would be given to the management of irrigation water, he added.

In the meantime, the government agent said further steps are taken to continue the provision of Rs. 5,000 worth dry food rations among drought-stricken farmer families within the district.

Apart from this, a number of around 20,000 people suffering from the lack of drinking water, would be provided with potable water with the use of water bowsers, in the Nochchiyagama, Mahawilachchiya and Rajangane Divisional Secretariat divisions.


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