The authorities have commenced releasing water from the Samanalawewa reservoir to the Udawalawe reservoir for agricultural purposes in the early hours of Tuesday (Aug 08).

According to State Minister of Power & Energy D.V. Chanaka, water is being released at a rate of 3.5 million cubic meters per day for three days.

The active water capacity of the Udawalawe reservoir, which has a total water capacity of 217,800 acre-feet, had dropped to 956 acre-feet as of Monday morning (Aug 07). This is merely 0.45% of the full water capacity of the water body.

Under normal conditions, the Udawalawe reservoir releases at least 32,000 acre-feet of water daily during the farming season.

However, the water body had released only 934 acre-feet of water to croplands on Sunday (Aug 06), with 521 acre-feet of water from the right canal and 413 acre-feet of water from the left canal.

According to the Mahaweli Authority, a total of 545 acre-feet of water from Samanalawewa reservoir and Veli Oya was added to the Udawalawe reservoir on Sunday.

It also mentioned that the active water capacity of the Udawalawe reservoir has depleted to the lowest level recorded in recent history.

Meanwhile, internal sources of the Mahaweli Authority revealed that at least 800 acres of paddy fields and 100 hectares of additional crops were lost as a result of the insufficient amounts of water provided from the Udawalawe reservoir to croplands.

However, at the meeting of Cabinet of Ministers chaired by President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday, green-lighted Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera’s proposal to release the maximum amount of water from Samanalawewa reservoir to Udawalawe reservoir required for agricultural purposes.

Further, the Cabinet came to a consensus that alternative solutions should be sought for the national electricity requirement.