Burning issues crop up as farmers, Mahaweli authorities disagree over release of water

Burning issues crop up as farmers, Mahaweli authorities disagree over release of water

Burning issues crop up as farmers, Mahaweli authorities disagree over release of water

Written by Staff Writer

12 Apr, 2016 | 9:00 pm

A confrontational situation has arisen over the releasing of water from reservoirs, to irrigate fields for the Yala season. Irrigation and Mahaweli authorities say they are prepared to release water for irrigation from April 18.

The Irrigation Department says a problem has arisen with regard to releasing water for the Yala season, since the cultivation of paddy fields had not commenced on time. Director of Water Management at the Department, Mohan Raj, said about 300 acre feet of water is being vapourised per day, due to prevailing dry weather conditions.

Director of the Irrigation Department, Mohan Raj stated that the department was informed they will not receive rain until May this year, due to the El Nino effect. Therefore they had informed farmers to make maximum use of the water stored, and to quickly commence cultivation.

Farmers say it is difficult for them to commence cultivation for the Yala season, immediately after the Sinhala Tamil New Year. Farmers from the Polonnaruwa District say this would lead to the waste of water released from the reservoirs.

News1stobserved recently that the water levels of the Parakrama Samudraya, Giritale and Minneriya reservoirs, were at a maximum.

National Organiser, All Ceylon Peasants Federation, Namal Karunaratne stated that farmers are unwilling to cultivate when the water is to be released as they will have stocks of paddy in a few more months and they will be facing a crisis.

Explaining further,  he noted that the capacity of major reservoirs in the Mahaweli Project has reduced due to the silt that has built up.

Farmers in many areas,  including the Mahaweli H Zone, are calling for water to be released immediately. They also claim that water levels of the Nuwara Wewa, Rajanganaya, Nachchaduwa and Tisawewa reservoirs in the Anuradhapura district, are at a normal level.

Farmers in the Ampara District too are unable to commence cultivation for the Yala season due to the lack of water. They also alleged that that while there is plenty of water in reservoirs, including the Senanayake Samudraya, water is being released without any proper management.

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