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    New project to improve irrigation reservoir capacity

    May 22, 2014

    The World Bank's International Development Association has approved a loan of 110 million dollars for a new project to improve the storage capacity of all irrigation reservoirs to face the impact of climate change.

    The new project will be launched by the Irrigation and Water Resoruces Management Ministry to face the impact of climate change. The work is to be completed within 5 years.

    Sri Lanka has one of the oldest traditional irrigation systems in the world, dating back as far as 500 BC. The early Sri Lankan society developed a system of irrigation tanks that retain river runoff mainly for the purpose of irrigation agriculture. Until today it provides many direct and indirect services for millions of people. Besides the production of rice the tanks provide goods such as fish, lotus flowers and roots that diversify household income. The seepage from the tanks maintains water quality in wells and is the main source for drinking water.

    Since the 1970’s, the increasing demand for water in upstream areas for modern, large-scale agriculture and hydro-power has lead to the decline of water flow into the tank system and increased the sediment load and siltation. This together with the loss of traditional management practices caused a decline in the water
    holding capacity of the tank system, resulting in negative consequences for the livelihood of downstream users.

    Over the past decades the national authorities took over the responsibility and invested in the rehabilitation of the tanks and the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka (MASL) manages the tanks by raising the spill in order to rapidly restore their capacity for water storage . However, this option does not solve the problem of tank sedimentation and wetland degradation system  

    Therefore the new project aims to build climate change resilience and adaptation through infrastructure development. Under the project, damaged and ruined reservoirs, tanks, anicuts and dams will be renovated and reconstructed


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