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Work on major Irrigation projects progressing rapidly

Implementation of the Government’s ambitious projects to harness the waters of the Menik Ganga, Deduru Oya, Rambukkan Oya, Kirama Oya, Walave Ganga and Dambulu Oya for agricultural and drinking purposes in the dry zones of the country has proved to be very successful and was progessing rapidly, Director General of Irrigation (DGI) H. P. Shelton Somasiri said on Wednesday.

He said the water diversification projects were initiated by Minister of Civil Aviation, Ports Development and Irrigation Chamal Rajapaksa under the Mahinda Chinthanaya proposals.

The Menik Ganga project was completed in October 2008. It diverted water to Weheragala enabling 18,000 farmer families, in the Lunugamvehera area, to cultivate their fields both in the Yala and Maha seasons. It had brought rich dividends to the farmers.

Deputy Director of Irrigation Nimal Siriwardena said the Deduru Oya diversification project was launched in 2006 at a cost of Rs 6,200 million. It was funded by the Treasury. Over 25,000 farmer families will be able to get water for cultivation and drinking purposes. It would benefit the villagers mainly in the dry region of the Wayamba Province (NWP). It will also supply 15 Mega Watts of Hydro Power to the National Grid.

The work, ably handled by local experts, is progressing rapidly. The labour force is drawn from the villages close to the sites. After the completion of the main dam, the reservoir will hold 75 million cubic metres of water to irrigate 25,000 acres of paddy.

The Kekiri Obada Project comes under the Walasmulla Divisional Secretariat in the Tangalle electorate. The water is diverted from the tributary of the Kirama Oya. The project was launched in 2005. Rs 273 million had been granted by the Japanese Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) for its implementation. Farmers in Kirama and Walasmulla will be able to cultivate over 3,800 acres and also get drinking water once the scheme is completed. The main dam would be 20 metres high and 375 metres long. The reservoir will hold 2.7 million cubic metres of water. Nearly 90 per cent of the project has been completed.

The Wemedilla Resorvoir Project will utilize water of the Dambulu Oya coming under the Dambulla and Galewela Divisional Secretariat areas and the JBIC is providing the necessary funds.

The main dam is 1,800 metres in length and 12 metres in width. It has two sluice gates and supplies water to cultivate nearly 1,800 acres of paddy during both Yala and the Maha.

The Weli Oya Project will harness the waters of the left bank of the tributary of the Walawe river in the Moneragala District. The project was launched on October 6, 2007. It has an underground channel carrying water to feed 50 minor tanks in the district enabling it to suppy water to 2,000 acres of paddy land. The main dam would be 70 metres long. The water from the reservoir will be carried to a distance of 25 kilometres to Hambegamuwa tank which has the capacity to hold 1.25 million cubic metres of water and at same time the Mau ara and the Walawe ara are to be rehabilitated before the completion -of this project .

The Uma oya project to provide water to farmers in the Moneragala District is yet in the designing stage.

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