Irrigation Department to set up more drinking water projects

The Irrigation Department is exploring suitable sustainable water sources for drinking water projects mainly in Up- Country and Dry Zone areas.

At present, three mega water projects,such as, the JICA funded Anuradhapura North Phase One and Two water projects and the Chinese funded Thambuththegama Water Supply Scheme are under construction.

According to Irrigation Department sources, the department has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB) for sharing water from the Mahakanadarawa Tank and the Wahalkada Tank pertaining to the implementation of JICA funded Anuradhapura North Water Project Phase One.

It is learnt that NWS&DB wants to extract the short term requirement of 6700 cubic metres per day from the Mahakanadarawa Tank (36,250 acre feet) after the completion of the water treatment plant, the long term requirement of 18,800 cubic metres daily by 2034 following the completion of upper Elahera Canal.

In addition, the Irrigation Department has consented to release 10,500 cubic metres and long term requirement of 28,800 cuble metres per day after 10 years from the Wahalkada Reservoir bearing 43,000 acre feet.

An Irrigation Department spokesman said that the NWS&DB shall in turn make the necessary arrangements for the provision of funds amounting to Rs.500 million to the Irrigation Department for improving the main and the subsystems of Mahakanadarawa and Wahakada Tanks, the proposed two water sources.

With regard to the Anuradhapura North Phase Two Water Scheme recently completed, the Yan Oya Reservoir (139,000) acre feet) has been proposed to feed the water project. The spokesman further said that due to the opposition of the farmers in the Rajangane Scheme against using the Rajangane Reservoir (85,000 acre feet) as the water source for the Thambuththegama Water Project, now it has been mutually agreed to release required water intake from the Angamuwa Tank (14,400 acre feet) on the basis of 18,000 cubic metres per day. These three water projects are scheduled to be completed in 2024.

Sources also said that suitable water sources for the realisation of several major water projects such as Galenbidunuwewa, Galgamuwa, Puttalam (South), Palugaswewa, Eppawala/ Rajangane/ Nochchiyagama/ Giribawa Integrated WSP, as well the Galnewa/ Palagala integrated water projects have yet to be finalised by the NWS&DB.

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