Network of irrigation projects in progress
Excerpts of the interview:
Deputy Irrigation and Water Resources
Management Minister S M Chandrasena told the Daily News that
his main objective is to uplift irrigation and water management to
enhance the quality of agriculture and ensure each and everyone in the
island has the access to pure drinking water
Q: Under the Mahinda Chinthana Future
Vision manifesto what are the steps to uplift the irrigation and water
resources, islandwide and in NCP?
A: The President has taken
measures to ensure the well-being of the common man specially in the
North Central Province where there are many areas with water scarcity,
which in turn affects agriculture. The President who is well aware of
the fact that our agricultural economy depends on water took the
necessary decisions to
Minister S M Chandrasena
start the Moragahakanda project allocating finance from the Treasury.
At the beginning we didn’t have any foreign funds. The Japanese
Government is going to help us to speed up the process. Moragahakanda is
capable of storing a water capacity five times that of the Parakkrama
Samudraya. The Kaluganga which joins the Mahaweli River in Polonnaruwa
carries water to the sea. When the Huruluwewa spills that water flows
into the sea along Yan Oya which is 74 km long.
During the 2005 General Election campaign when the President visited
Galenbidunuvewa, I suggested him about the Yan Oya renovation. The
President directed Rs 350 million to build a dam across the Yan Oya. The
dam is being constructed at Kahatagasdigiliya, Allapothana. We are
releasing water to 20 small tanks during this Maha Season. We extend the
capacity of the canal from 100 cubic metres to 200 cubic metres to take
water to the Padawiya tank. We have planned to take the water to
Thabarawewa and then along the Mora Oya to Padawiya. The project is
expected to be completed by December 2011. Horowpothana, Medawachchiya,
Seruwila, Gomarankadawala and Pulmudai will be benefited. With the
construction of the Pahala Yan Oya project the Wahalkada reservoir will
become twice as large as the Kala Vewa.
The Moragahakanda project will also provide water to Eru Vewa which
is a magnificent ancient irrigation work benefitting the Thirappane
Under the Kalawewa project around 6,000,000 acres are harvested. The
massive tank complex - Rajanganaya, Nachchaduwa, Thuruwila, Thisa Vewa,
Basawakkulama, will have water during the Yala season with the
completion of Moragahakanda. The Mahaweli Zone is abundant with water so
we don’t have to worry.
|* Engaged in
politics as a SLFPer for the past 33 years
* 1999 - Minister- North Central Provincial Council.-
Agriculture, Soil Resources, Fisheries, Environment and Health
* 2001- Elected UPFA Member of Parliament
* 2004- Social Services and Welfare and Women’s Affairs Ministry
* 2007 - Nation Rebuilding Minister
* 2010- Elected to Parliament securing the highest number of
votes from the Anuradhapura district. He was appointed
Irrigation and Water Resources Management Deputy Minister
Q: There are other villages with a
water scarcity. What projects have you implemented?
A: There is another
project which carries water to Thanthirimale crossing the Malwathuoya.
There is a massive network of irrigation projects which are in progress
now. There is a project to carry water to the Iranamadu tank through
North Central Maha Ala. There are also plans to provide drinking water
to Jaffna from the Iranamadu tank. The restoration and renovation of
small tanks could make a significant contribution to the economic and
social welfare of village communities in the dry zone. The Ministry has
also introduced the agro well scheme with a subsidy to the farming
The Deduruoya project will be a dream come true for people in Wayamba.
Kurunegala and Puttalam will be benefited. Rambukkan Oya Project in
Ampara, Gurugal Oya in Kandy and Nuwara Eliya district Uma Oya and Hada
Oya projects and Lower Uva Project in Moneragala are also in progress.
This is the only era in recent past after the kings where massive
irrigational projects are being patronized by the leader of the country.
Q: What measures has your Ministry
taken to reduce water pollution and related matters?
A: The Water Resources
Board which is under the purview of our Ministry is carrying out
experiments to find out efficient and practical ways of reducing water
contamination. They are also working out a solution to renal diseases
with the collaboration of experts which is common in the NCP. We have
records of the effect of contaminated water on the human body. We are
promoting compost fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizer. We are
carrying out awareness programs to farmers to use traditional methods
instead of chemical pesticides through farming committees.
The Ministry has already ordered machines to remove weeds in tanks.
There are proposals to protect tanks which supply drinking water to the
cities, for example constructing bathing pools to avoid routine
desilting of Vewas.
Moragahakanda project. File photo
Q: Your comments on the progress of
projects in the North?
A: Under the Wari Pubuduwa
and with foreign aid a large number of tanks are being renovated
including the Yoda Vewa in Mannar. The CCD is in the process of
surveying over 200 tanks to be renovated in the North and borderline
villages including Anuradhapura. Because of terrorism the Government
couldn’t implement development projects in those areas.
As soon as the feasibility studies are finished the renovations would
begin in 2011.
Q: By next World’s Water Day which is
on May 22, what improvements do you expect?
A: I must thank the
President for allocating thrice the amount of funds than 2010 for the
irrigation sector next year. The Mahaweli Authority which is 30 years
old is now under our Ministry. The renovations and maintenance of canals
and irrigation systems under the Mahaweli systems were in a poor
But now a huge amount of finance has been allocated for the
renovation of canals and irrigation network in this regard. So there
should be a massive leap in irrigation and water resources management.
By 2011, the Deduru Oya Project, Rambukkan Oya Project, Gurigal Oya
Project, Gal Oya Navodaya Project are expected to be vested in the