Lack of funds hits work on three mega water projects | Sunday Observer

Lack of funds hits work on three mega water projects

28 May, 2023

Chronic kidney disease is on the increase in the North Central Province mainly due to the dearth of potable drinking water at village level.

Villagers in Rambewa Medawachchiya, Padaviya, Kebithigollewa, Horowpothana, Kahatagasdigiliya, Mahawilachchiya, Mihintale, Galnewa, Thalawa and the Palugaswewa Divisional Secretariat divisions in the Anuradhapura district were found to be highly vulnerable to kidney diseases.

The Government has focused attention to provide pure drinking water to the CKDu prone areas in the Anuradhapura and the Polonnaruwa districts.

Three mega water projects using the Angamuwa, Yan Oya and Mahakanadarawa reservoirs as water sources were launched under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Chinese Development Bank.

JICA provided funds for two mega water projects: Anuradhapura North Phase one (water Source - Mahakanadarawa tank) and Phase two (water source - Yan Oya reservoir) and the Chinese Development Bank provided Rs. Rs 19,000 million to construct the Thambuththegama Water Project in the Mahaweli “H” area.

JICA funded Rs. 12,000 million and Rs 42,350 million for the Anuradhapura North Phase one and the Phase two water supply schemes.


JICA and the Chinese Development Bank have suspended funds to implement the Anuradhapura North Phase One and the Phase Two and the Thambuththegama water project due to the economic crisis.

Construction work on the Anuradhapura North Phase One water project has been completed by 99 percent according to its project Director, Engineer M.S.M.Razwan. He said construction work on the 9,400 cubic metres capacity water treatment plant at the Mahakanadrawa tank’s left bank has been completed.

Construction work on elevated water towers at Isinbessagala, Rambewa, Ethakada and Pihimbiyagollewa have been completed whereas construction work on the Rambewa, Medawachchiya and Pihimbiyagollewa underground water storage tanks is in progress.

The pipe laying program including water transmission, distribution and sub - distribution pipe laying work to around 600 kilometres has been finalised.

According to Project Director Rizwan, it is expected to provide 25,000 water connections under the first phase of the water project in Rambewa and Medawachchiya DS divisions by 2030. More families will receive drinking water facilities when the North Central mega canal construction is completed since it is expected to provide 70 million cubic metres of water from the canal to Mahakanadarawa Reservoir annually by 2024.


Initially, the Irrigation Department had agreed to supply 6,700 cubic metres of water daily to run the water project.

Rizwan said, “We have planned to provide Rs. 381 million to the Irrigation Department for the modernisation of the dilapidated tank’s canal system to gain maximum water security. Renovation work including repairing the canal from Eruwewa to Mahakanadarawa will bring a considerable volume of water to the reservoir.

However, JICA has suspended releasing funds for the project since April 2022. There are outstanding arrears to be paid to the contractors too. In any case, we have handed over the completed sections of the water project to the North Central provincial office of the Water Supply and Drainage Board which will continue the remaining work,” Rizwan said.

No progress has been made on the Anuradhapura North Mega Water Project Phase Two, apart from calling for tenders due to the financial crisis. The project when completed could cater to a population of around 200,000 in Kebithigollewa, Padaviya, Horowpothana and Kahatagasdigiliya DS divisions. Construction work on the Thambuththegama water project has been completed by 85 percent.

Around 150,000 people in Galnewa, Thambuththegama and the Thalawa DS divisions will benefit from the water scheme.