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With remedial action in force in Uva:

Water Scarcity, a thing of the past


The Uva province being an agricultural region, with vast extents of agricultural land and tea plantations, the UPFA Government, under its major development programs, focussed on providing irrigation and agriculture-based infrastructure to promote agriculture and export tea. This objective has been achieved to a great extent with several irrigation projects already completed and two major projects nearing completion.

New Maternity Ward at Mahiyangana Base Hospital

 
 
 

Infrastructure facilities are almost complete with road networks connecting interior agricultural and plantation areas. Agricultural and infrastructure projects were launched by the line ministries of the Central government and the Provincial Council administration.

Two of the major ongoing irrigation projects are the Rs. 76,316 million Iran-funded Uma Oya Multipurpose Project in Moneragala and the Rs. 1700 mn Morana Irrigation Reservoir Project in Ridimaliyadda Division in the Mahiyangana Divisional Secretariat area. The Uma Oya project tops the list of all mega development projects launched by the UPFA Government for accelerated development of the province. These two projects and other smaller projects that have already been implemented would hugely contribute to increased agricultural productivity while uplifting socio--economic welfare of the agricultural communities in particular and other communities in general, authoritative government sources said.

Farmers constantly experienced water scarcity for cultivation in the province and the below-poverty-line average remained markedly higher compared to other provinces but this situation is fast changing consequent to the development programs launched by the government, the sources said.

The Uma Oya project will address the problem of drought, annually experienced by farmers of Moneragala and some parts of the Southern province while providing clean drinking water, benefiting a large number of agricultural and others families in the project areas, Project Director Dr.Eng. N.S.K.N. de Silva told the Sunday Observer.

Development of livestock and inland fisheries, increase in water spread area and improvement in the ground water table, employment opportunities to several thousands of skilled and unskilled persons and knowledge transfer of modern technology are other benefits to the local communities under the project, he said.

Water will be supplied to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board from the Puhulpola reservoir to provide drinking water to the people of Attampitiya and its neighbourhood before diversion of water under the project , the Project Director said.

In a similar manner water will be supplied to Bandarawela and its neighbourhood from the Dyrabah dam and to Ambegama and its neighbourhood from the Kuda Oya reservoir, he said. After diversion water will be supplied from the Lunugamvehera reservoir to Tissamaharama and its environs, he said. The project is expected to generate 120 MW power at low cost, considerably offsetting the production cost of power. Another important feature of the project is that the headrace tunnel is 15.65 km long , the longest ever to be constructed under any major hydro power or reservoirs project in the country, the Project Director said.

The Morana Irrigation Reservoir Project , by damming the Ulhitiya Oya at Morana, converges into supplying irrigable water using a canal on the left bank, where the main purpose of the canal is to transfer water to the Rotagala tank in the Nagadeepa scheme while supplying water to the irrigable lands along selected stretches both sides of the canal which will be newly developed, Project Director Eng.Nelson Jyatillake said.

The objective is to provide water for cultivation of the total 2500 acres of paddy lands to achieve an increased cropping intensity and production, he said. The other objectives of the project are 1) providing water for the Nagadeepa scheme which is experiencing continuous water shortages at the tail ends of the irrigable areas, with the introduction of a canal to the Rotagala tank by trapping the water in the Morana reservoir, 2) providing an assured supply of water for the farmers in the area for agricultural activities - paddy in "Maha" and other field crops (OFC) in "Yala"seasons, 3) improved water management and drainage facilities, 4) the provision of a new access road, 5) improved access facility through the construction of an access road to villagers and farmers, 6) inducing farmer organisation development , and 6) increased water availability for wildlife.

To supplement the infrastructure facilities in the Badulla city area, projects for constructing seven bridges will be launched today under the auspices of Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management Nimal Siripala De Silva, Coordinating Secretary, Badulla Gunapala Illayapperuma said. The seven bridges are the Aluthkelagam Aluth Ela bridge, the Katapellagama bridge, the Madiviya bridge, the Peelipottagama bridge, the Hangwella Doopotha bridge and the Medapatana bridge, he said. The Milagastenne bridge at a cost of Rs.200 mn in Station Road, Badulla will be commissioned soon while Minister De Silva will lay the foundation stone for the Hegoda bridge today, he said.

Three other bridges in the Badulla Pradeshiya Sabha areas are also under construction at a cost of Rs. 60 mn, Illayapperuma said. They are the Dambagoda Galagedera bridge, the Telbedde Storewatte bridge and the Kirimalgoda Medamankada bridge, he said.

Under the Uva Provincial Council road development programs the construction of the Kottagoda-Bodumuilla-Adiyarawatta-Maspanna-Yalagamuwa road is nearing completion at a cost of Rs.996 Mn, according to details provided by the Uva Governor's Media Secretary, M.B. Chandrapala.

Ninety percent work on the construction of the Muppanna-Wedikumbura-Yalagamuwa road at a cost of Rs. 591 mn is completed. The construction of the Hulanduwa Left Kahambana road at a cost of Rs.847 mn and the Medihale-Pathanawatta-Thennapanguwa -Kiriwehera road at a cost of Rs. 713 mn are also nearing completion, according to sources.

Construction of irrigation canals and tank bunds at a cost of Rs. 5.8 mn and other minor infrastructure development works were also completed in the recent past under the PC development programs, the sources said.

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