Sri Lanka president advises officials to brace for impending drought

President-Maithripala-Sirisena

Jan 19, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has held a discussion to look into the preparations at ministerial level to provide essential relief to the public during the impending drought.

A special committee comprising secretaries of the ministries of power and energy, mahaweli and water supply has been appointed to make quick decisions in the process of providing relief to the people minimizing the difficulties.

During the meeting, the programmes already in existence and future work plans launched by respective ministries to face the impending drought situation were discussed along with steps to protect water resources.

Sri Lanka’s main South East monsoon from May to August failed with very little rain recorded and the North East monsoon was delayed resulting in around half the rainfall compared to last year.

This prevailing dry spell in the country is severely affecting small community water supply systems in rural areas while the demand for water is expected to increase.

According to local meteorological officials there is only 36 percent capacity in our Randenigala, Victoria, Samanala Kande reservoirs because of the drought and this dry spell is expected to continue on for another 3-4 even 5 months.

The president has instructed officials to implement a programme to reconstruct tanks with no water, and pointed out the importance of apprising the public regarding the protection of water sources and proper use of water.

Ministers Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Susil Premajanth, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Duminda Disanayake, Laxman Yapa Abeywardena, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, secretaries of the ministries and other officials participated in this discussion.

Meanwhile, a proposal made by, Rauff Hakeem, minister of city planning and water supply, to broaden water supply through water bowsers by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, construct 400 tube wells, renovate 1000 hand pumped deep wells in rural areas, and to construct 200 such wells, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, this week.

The proposal includes educating the public on frugal use of water, and coordination with relevant authorities to take necessary steps in interruption to supply.