Lower Malwathu Oya reservoir project work gathers momentum | Sunday Observer

Lower Malwathu Oya reservoir project work gathers momentum

10 September, 2023
Road construction in the resettlement area
Road construction in the resettlement area

The proposed Lower Malwathu Oya reservoir in the Anuradhapura district is one of the long standing major irrigation projects bringing about sustainable solutions for acute drinking and irrigation water scarcity in the Anuradhapura, Mannar and Vavuniya districts.

The Lower Malwathu Oya Multi-sector Development project was conceptualised way back in 1970s with the collaboration of a team of experts of then Soviet Russia. The realisation of the project has been delayed due to many political and socio-economic reasons. But ultimately in 2021, construction work on the head component of the project commenced aiming to complete this giant irrigation development project by the end of 2024.

The lower Malwathu Oya Multi-sector Development project comprises the construction of a reservoir holding a capacity of 209 MCM and 3.6 km long earthen dam at Kapuchchi village on the border of the Northern and North Central Provinces with radial gated spillway and powerhouse intake to generate 4.68 Gwh of hydropower annually and solar power generating plants within in the emerging reservoir.

Construction work discontinued at the beginning due to the economic crisis of the country. The Government is looking for funds from foreign investors including Chinese CAMSE engineering company which completed construction work on adjoining Yan Oya reservoir (1,49,000 acre feet) two years ago.

Project Director Senior Engineer Prasanna Thilakarathna told the Sunday Observer that the reservoir is constructed across the country’s second largest river, the Malwathu Oya river which originates at historic Ritigala hills and flowing to sea at the Arippu village in the Mannar district, passing 164 kilometres en-route.

 “This Mega Multi-sector Project is, at present, funded by the Government and the total cost as re-estimated recently stands at Rs.23,000 million. Construction work on earthen embankment, development of internal and external road for the resettlement, land acquisitions and model irrigation farm construction works are currently under way. Rs. 4.000 million has been allocated for the completion of resettlement of 244 families being displaced with ¾ plot of high land and new housing facilities granted to each affected family,” Project Director Eng. Thilakarathna said.

The major tanks in the Malwathu Oya river basin are Nachchaduwa, Tissawewa, Nuwarawewa, Mahakanadarawa in upper catchment area and Akathimurippu tank in lower catchment area. Twelve Grama Niladhari divisions: Thanthirimale, Nelumwila, Thuppitiyawa, Asirikgama, Maha Ehetuwewa, Halambawewa, Dematamalgamai Kulama, Naranwila, Kaluwila, Hingurathenna, Dematamalgama get submerged under the project. Rural tanks such as Eliyakudawewa, Eliyamahawewa, Weliwewa, Puliyankulama, Ruwanmaduwa, Pansika, Kupputiyawa, Upathissagama, Sinnorukanda, Diyamathurawa, Kimbuwewa, Moragaswewa and Karambankulama tanks will get submerged by the emerging Malwathu Oya reservoir.