By G.H.M. Amarasinghe
Rs. 550 million is set to be spent on the renovation of Ambagahawewa cascading tank system in the Anuradhapura District under the minor irrigation tank maintenance program “Sarawath Deshayaka Waapi Sangramaya.”
A part of the National Food Production Program carried out by the Presidential Task Force on National Food Production, this project would renovate a total of eight tanks at an estimated amount of Rs. 550.03 million.
Hence, Siyabalaketiya Wewa (Rs. 36 million), Kimbulpetiyawa Wewa (Rs. 50 million), Lena Wewa (Rs. 90 million), Divulgas Wewa (Rs. 77 million), Pahala Galkiriyagama Wewa (Rs. 90 million), Ihala Galkiriyagama Wewa (Rs. 100 million), Nai Wewa (Rs. 36 million), Elapathgama Wewa (Rs. 68 million) in the Nochchiyagama Division Secretariat Division would be renovated.
Meanwhile, the renovation of seven tanks in the Mahawilachchiya Divisional Secretariat Division of Anuradhapura District was completed recently, including Nabadagasdigiliya Wewa, Ihala Etha Wewa, Dunumadalaawa Wewa, Maha Millagollawa Wewa, Helaba Wewa, Galahitiyawa Wewa while in the Nochchiyagama.
In addition, Boolankulama Wewa in Mihintale is set to be opened by President Maithripala Sirisena next month having responded to a request by Dhammarathanathero. This was processed under the national program to renovate tanks, which is also being implemented in many provinces in Sri Lanka, and all the renovation works carried out with the assistance of the Engineering Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army.
The idea of renovating minor tanks was proposed by a committee last year which addressed the possible strategies to overcome the impact of climate related extreme events on water, food and plantation sectors.
The recent analysis of temperature data in Sri Lanka has depicted considerable increasing trends, in both maximum and minimum temperatures. With the increase of temperature, extreme climatic conditions have been established in Sri Lanka. A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of weather and climate extremes. This can result in unprecedented extremes, increasing exposure of people and economic assets to climate extremes and has been the major cause of long-term increases in economic losses from climate related disasters.
On the other hand, there are 103 river basins and 65 micro river basins in Sri Lanka. These river basins and sub-basins have 289 sub watersheds, 1166 village cascades, 12000 minor tanks, 508 anicut clusters and 278 major and medium size reservoirs. This is in addition to the multiple-longer reservoirs such as Kotmale, Victoria, Randenigala, Rantembe, Ulhitiya and Maduruoya constructed under the Mahaweli Development Program. In addition to these, high potential ground water terrains have been identified according to the country’s geology.
The fresh water is mainly used for food production from agriculture and fisheries to meet basic needs such as bathing, drinking and sanitation for hydro-power generation, for environmental uses, for industries and business and for recreation. Most of the available water resources had been polluted by human activity such as sewage industrial wastes, agriculture pollutants, and physical and chemical pollutants which is why a program of this magnitude was required.
The Cascade Tank-Village System is known as a connected series of tanks organised within a micro-catchment of the dry zone landscape, storing, conveying and utilising water from an ephemeral rivulet. It is an ancient, widely used and unique traditional agriculture system mainly found in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. The system has evolved over a period of nearly two millennia and by reconstructing the Ellanga System which is an outstanding irrigational concept since the ancient kingdoms this program of reconstruction is conducted to store more water within the rural tanks which is likely to provide a stable solution to the severe lack of drinking water and irrigational water supplements in the Anuradhapura District.
Meanwhile, the renovation of Kotakibulakada anicut in the Panduwasnuwara Divisional Secretariat Division of Kurunegala District got underway last week under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena as a part of the program “Sarawath Deshayaka Waapi Sangramaya.”