Irrigation in Batticaloa
In the Batticaloa District the irrigation development plan will play a critical role in the development of agriculture and will be a driving force for all agriculture development plans of the District. The major and medium irrigation schemes have failed to offer an effective irrigation facility due to lack of water management system. The damages caused to thousands of minor tanks due to lack of maintenance and war situation in the District has been detrimental for irrigation for the commend areas as well as irrigation from Agro wells. Even the livestock populations were deprived adequate water for drinking during drought season. The damages of the salt water exclusion schemes have failed to protect the valuable cultivation land in coastal areas. The available high land was underutilized without adequate lift irrigation facilities in Batticaloa District.
The irrigation and water supply are interconnected. The availability of water in the tanks will enhance the potentiality to have an effective water supply scheme for the people living around that scheme. Access for adequate safe drinking water and sanitation has been declared as a Millennium Development Goal. While an average of 85% have access for safe water in the Island, the Batticaloa District registers very much less (Batticaloa has only 5% household connection of pipe supplied water). The rural population depends on ground water supply (open wells and tube wells). The recovery of thousand of minor tanks shall stabilize the ground water table for good water supply from open and tube wells. The provision made in the budget for the maintenance of the irrigation schemes has been reported as inadequate and the 25 years conflict situation in Batticaloa Sri lanka (which has prevented effective maintenance of the schemes) were reasons for low productivity with the schemes in Batticaloa Sri lanka. The minor tanks which were generally located in remote areas were affected the most and many of them are not functioning at present. The attempts made in the past to enhance the capacity of the farmers organization were not successful. The former organization is still in need of training to improve their capacity to involve for maintenance and water management.
Irrigation Development Goals in Batticaloa
To provide irrigation for the emerging demand for water from the agricultural and nonagricultural sectors (A pro rata of 1500 US$ per acre is considered for investment for tank improvement and construction and concrete lining was considered only for main channel to deliver water fast and other branch & distributing channels were not recommended to facilitate recharging the ground water table in these areas)
• Introduce water management techniques
• Improve minor tanks in the Eastern province and agro tourism
• Rehabilitate of damaged salt water exclusion structures.
• Lift irrigation to high land using wind mills.
• Improve head works and downstream structures of major & medium tanks.
• Develop new tanks in potential areas.
• Improve drainage schemes as water resources