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 Post subject: Moragahakanda reservoir project
 Post Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:00 am 
Moragahakanda reservoir project

The Moragahakanda reservoir is a major storage reservoir proposed under the Mahaweli ganga development scheme for the purpose of regulation and storage of Amban ganga which flows between the Bowatanna dam and Elahera anicut.

Sunday, 26 March 2006
@ SO

The Moragahakanda reservoir was the fifth reservoir planned under the Mahaweli master plan. Its construction was delayed due to various reasons during the last 35 years.

The Moragahakanda reservoir is a major storage reservoir proposed under the Mahaweli ganga development scheme for the purpose of regulation and storage of Amban ganga which flows between the Bowatanna dam and Elahera anicut.

This multi-purpose project is expected to provide a domestic and industrial water supply to Anuradhapura, Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa and Matale districts, irrigation water to cultivate 26,500 Ha of uncultivated lands annually in the Amban ganga system and around 55 gwh of hydro power could be generated annually at Moragahakanda.

The project components include construction of a dam across the Amban Ganga, about 2km upstream of the Elehara anicut incorporating a power house with an installed capacity of 20mw. This would ensure the supply of irrigated water to 81,422 Ha of lands in the dry zone to meet the drinking water requirements in the Anuradhapura and Trincomalee areas and an additional water supply to the industrial zone in the Trincomalee and generation of electricity.

The completion of the Moragahakanda reservoir project will contribute towards increasing agricultural productivity in the island from 165 per cent to 185 per cent and its total output value would be US $ 17 million. It is also expected to save US $ 2.2 million locally by supplying water to households and for industrial purposes.

According to the Moragahakanda project report the power generation and Inland fishery industry may contribute towards saving US $ 1.3 million and US $ 1.1 million.

It is also expected that the farmers' income would increase by 80 per cent once the Moragahakanda reservoir project is completed.

The Mahaweli Minister said the cost of the construction work on the Moragahakanda and Kalu ganga projects will be Rs. 7 billion and the millennium fund had agreed to finance the project.

Outlying the enormous benefits the country has derived from the Mahaweli project during the past three decades the Minister said that the total number of farmer families settled to date exceeds 133,000 and those farmers in their thousands contribute towards building a new Mahaweli economy and a new Mahaweli culture.

He said that during the past 28 years Mahaweli hydro power stations have generated power worth over Rs. 114 billion. Discussing today's challenge for a bright future, the Mahaweli Minister stressed the need for a proper and efficient human resources management and rational water management plan to enhance and sustain the Mahaweli program.

 Post subject: Moragahakanda; At what cost?
 Post Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:06 am 
Moragahakanda; At what cost?

By Kshanika Goonesekera
@ DM / Saturday, June 02, 2007

The multi-purpose project intends to provide irrigation water for 81,422ha in the dry zone, portable and industrial water up to the Anuradhapura and Trincomalee districts as well as generate hydro-power. “At present annual figures show that some 330million cubic meters of water escapes to the ocean and is not used for any activities,” explained deputy Director of the Mahaweli Authority, Premakanthi Thalagala. “The main purpose of Moragahakanda is to store water so that it can be used during the Yala season when rainfall is low.” Even in Ambanganga storage capacity is low and the Kantalai, Kaudulla and Huruwewa areas show a high demand for water.

“The feasibility studies for the Moragahakanda and Kaluganga Development Project (MKDP) has been completed and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been approved,” said Ivan Silva, Director General of the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka at a special press briefing on the 25th of May 2007. Presently at the detailed design stage, the technological aspects of the project have been given over to the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB), which together with foreign assistance is conducting all necessary tests.

Dr. Terrence Muir, Consultant to Power and Water Development and a member of the team of foreign and local experts involved informed that the feasibility studies carried out from 2000 to 2003 were conducted by looking in to all aspects of geo-technical, soil investigations, portable water supply demands, environment and resettlement issues. “Even though the two reservoirs are considered as two individual projects they share the same objective,” to provide much more water to all the irrigation systems associated with the Amban Ganga that is right up to Anuradhapura, he said.

The master plan drawn up during 1964-1968 did not compensate for the accelerated need of power but today due to this need priorities have shifted and have to limit the diversion to agriculture and hence a deficit in irrigation in areas as Minneriya, Girithale, Kaudulla is seen. Thus storing the maximum capacity of water from the Ambanganga is very important explained Mrs. Thalagala. “Because of the power crisis our power plants run as base plants but once the coal power plant becomes active there’ll be enough water for irrigation.”

Providing drinking water to the Matale, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee districts is of highest priority stressed the panel assembled. In the future with a better understanding of the hydrological data base which is being expanded presently this could be extended to the northern sectors beyond Anuradhapura. Drinking water demand compared to that of irrigation is very small and this project estimates to even further increase the productive usage of water.

“There are around 70 thousand hectares of developed land in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee area all based around Ambanganga with an average cropping intensity of 1.55,” which means close to half of that land is unproductive revealed Dr. Muir. “It was our objective to see how we can increase this.” With the MKDP this cropping intensity can be increased to a reasonable 1.85 on average. “The benefits are spreading from up stream to down stream of Moragahakanda from this project,” he said. The best value for money invested in terms of increased agricultural products.

Another primary objective of the MKDP is to cause minimum environmental damage stated the Director General and to this affect the Mahaweli Authority is closely working with the Departments of Wildlife and Forestry. For reforestation programs, nurseries have already been established. “Reforestation will be done in parallel to the construction work,” said Mr. Silva, not only on the banks of the rivers and streams of the reservations but in the 100m reservation around the reservoirs and in the catchment area.

An elephant corridor between Minneriya-Girithale Nature Reserve and Wasgamuwa National Park with an electric fence along the corridor, easy access to all tanks for wildlife like petrol stations along the road as Dr. Muir called it, are a few of the proposed ideas for the area through MKDP. “Environmentalists have placed far more concern on elephants than on the need to develop,” the minute there is a power crisis everyone is up in arms but when you try to rectify the problem there’s even more trouble, disclosed K. Theivasagayam, Director of Project Planning, Mahaweli Authority, who is a believer of solving poverty through development. Never the less this is an eco-tourism project said Mr. Silva with opportunity than threat.

As to the concern of resettling people within the Wasgamuwa National Park Mr. Silva and Mrs. Thalagala promptly answered that the land proposed for resettlement (400ha) in fact belongs to the Mahaweli and was wrongly gazetted in 1986, “it was gazetted without out assent,” said Mr. Silva. “Except for the small area of system F used for rubber plantations the rest was released for the wildlife and now we are simply reclaiming it.”

Wasgamuwa too once came under the Mahaweli and all the development within was conducted by us, informed Mr. Theivasagayam. It isn’t that more and more land is being taken for development but when ever possible provisions are being made for the wildlife too. “During the feasibility studies we worked closely with the Wildlife Department and Department of Forestry and made sure that the planned area for development was no where near the boundaries of the Nature Reserves,” informed Dr. Muir and the entire panel assembled insisted that resettlement was not inside the Wasgamuwa Nature Reserve.

Initial construction activity, road deviations, the construction of the Alahera Road have commenced and for resettlement of 2100 families of the Moragahakada area and 600 families of the Kaluganga area, “The people wanted to be resettled in the same district hence provisions have been made and we are providing infrastructure in the Matale district itself,” said Mr. Silva. He also revealed that even though compensation has been paid the people are not leaving the area. They attribute this to the want of the people to own both properties, old and new. Their dislike to leave a land already settled in and to start anew is alien to us city dwellers.

To promote local industries construction of the bridges where the roads cross the Ambanganga and Kaluganga have been given to the CECB. “We want to use local resources as much as possible and help improve our industries,” said Mr. Silva.

Mr. Theivasagayam, concentrating on the resettlement plans said the surveys and investigations for resettlement can be completed in a month. Major roads, access roads, community centers, schools are a few plans for these new townships in the down stream area reserved for resettlement and irrigation. “The initial surveys conducted elaborated on the needs of the people and according to present government policy on involuntary evacuation we have to make sure that life conditions are better than before,” said Mr. Theivasagayam. The new land will be developed to meet these requirements and the townships will be equivalent to the other Mahaweli towns constructed he guaranteed.

As to the rumour that letters have been handed out to the people stating that they have gifted over the land to the Mahaweli hence are not eligible to compensation Mr. Theivasagayam is certain that the Mahaweli Authority has no such scheme in mind and the plans so far drawn up elaborate on the development of resettlement land for cultivation as well as for living. “The people have been adequately compensated and there is no truth to this rumor.”

With an estimated cost of US $440 million foreign assistance is crucial, “local funds will be used for reforestation and resettlement,” informed Mr. Silva but for the other aspects many countries have expressed their willingness to help. Japan and Kuwait have already assisted in feasibility studies where as China and Iran has expressed their enthusiasm.

On a geological aspect new dam safety equipment which will monitor dam movements and surrounding geological phenomena will allow engineers to monitor the dam and the underlying geology constantly. “Under international standards this technology is essential for dam safety,” said Mrs. Thalagala. The detailed study will lead to further investigations which will reveal the stability of the underlying rock structures and the suitability for the construction of the dams. Two saddle dams planned for each of the reservoirs are to be an earth filled and rock filled, while a roller compact main dam for Moragahakanda and a rock filled main dam for Kaluganga are planned.

Presently for the detailed study more topographical and technical information is being gathered for the next phase. The proposed time period for the project is seven years.

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