Relief for 24,000 families

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

Water runs scarce as the drought in the Anuradhapura district prevails. Anuradhapura Government Agent R. M. Wanninayake told the Daily News that a population of 24,000 of 72,000 families in eight Divisional Secretariat divisions, namely Mahawilachchiya, Nochchiyagama, Nuwaragampalatha (Central), Palugaswewa, Kahatagasdigiliya, Mihintale, Rambewa and Thirappane, were being provided with drinking water with the use of bowsers. He said that the problem would worsen if the district were to not experience rainfall soon.

''We are continuing to provide dry food rations to around 75,000 drought-stricken farmer families and each ration bag being is worth Rs.5,000," he added.

Wanninayake said, "We receive many requests for relief from families alleged to have been affected by the drought and their respective divisional secretaries had been instructed to conduct inquiries and provide assistance to whom it is required."

Referring to the drinking water issue, North Central Province National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NCP-NWSDB) Regional Manager C. S. Lokubarana said that the water level of the main drinking water supply source in Anuradhapura, the Nuwara Wewa, had dropped below the average level of 8 feet to 7.5 feet, making the water treatment process complicated.

Around a population of 300,000 in the Anuradhapura city and its surrounding suburbs, receives drinking water provided by the Nuwara Wewa, Tissa Wewa and Thuruwila tank, amounting to 40 acre-feet per day.

''The Mahaweli Water-Management Committee has been requested to provide a minimum Mahaweli water quota of 5000 a.f. immediately, through the Kala Wewa and the Nachchaduwa tank to the Nuwarawewa tank, to avoid any possible drinking water crisis and we expect that the request would be fulfilled," he said.

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