Study on Possibility of Year-round Irrigation in Mahaweli Systems C, G, H and Uda Walawe
Market demands and prices for fresh fruit and vegetables fluctuate during the year. Farmers must schedule their cultivations in sync with time-specific market windows. The availability of irrigation water right round the year is a key factor in creating the conditions for such market-oriented production. This MED study was undertaken to ascertain to what extent and how it might be possible to provide farmers with year-round irrigation water in Mahaweli Systems B, C, G and Uda Walawe. A earlier MARD study had found that it was possible in System B of Mahaweli to supply water to farmers as and when needed throughout the year, a situation which should remain at least until the right bank is developed. The main finding is that it is not possible for year round irrigation to be practiced throughout these systems due to the serious shortages of water experienced in the dry or Yala season. In some instances it may be possible to provide irrigation water as an extension to the normal season. This would depend on the rainfall during tile cultivation season and the water that has been "saved" as a result, It also may be possible to provide water under certain small reservoirs just after the regular season, depending on the quantum of water left over due to higher rainfall than expected during the season. The report recommends that controlled use is made of the available ground water by pumping during the drought periods. It also recommends appropriate crops. The study recommends that an operations and maintenance plan be drawn out for the mlin and branch canals, ill consultation with the farmer organizations. The plan should be flexible enough for maintenance to be done when the canals are not in use. The study also recommends training in various aspects of water management targeting staff at different levels and the farmers. This report reflects the findings and views of the group of Teams Consultants who carried out the assignment and prepared this document.