'Unscientific acceleration of Mahaweli cause for water shortage'
The drought continuing from April in the Polonnaruwa district and
areas feeding the major reservoirs like the Parakrama Samudra had
affected paddy cultivation and agriculture which employ 75,000 farmers
in the district.
The main reason for the water shortage is the unscientific
acceleration of the Mahaweli river diversion scheme completed in five
years when it was planned to be completed in 30 years District Secretary
Nimal Abeysiri told the Daily News yesterday.
He said, development of irrigation and electricity projects with
water diverted to reservoirs built in the highland areas had neglected
the existing gradual flow of water to feed the irrigation reservoirs
built by the ancient people and had disturbed the eco-systems and
gradual seepage and flow of water from the natural waterways and
Digging deep tube wells had disturbed the ground water table and had
also disturbed the natural stratas of soil below.
The accelerated scheme had also destroyed forest cover in the upper
catchment areas of the reservoirs and thus deprived the rights of the
people of Polonnaruwa by decreasing the water levels of the major
reservoirs, he said.
Also the farmers too must cooperate with the irrigation officials
when they distribute water and cultivate according to the time frames so
that the problem of water shortage would not have been so aggravated,
the District Secretary said.
It had become a problem with strong winds prevailing water
evaporation percentage had increased to around 250 acre feet for about
one month and during the last four months 1,000 acre feet of water had
been lost due to evaporation and in addition water gets muddy. The
problem is if we provide drinking water there would not be water for
cultivation, he said.