Sri Lankan Farmers call off the ‘Satyagraha’ campaign demanding water for cultivation

Sri Lankan farmers protest

The ‘Satyagraha’ campaign launched by a group of Sri Lankan farmers demanding water be released from the Udawalawe reservoir for cultivation purposes, has been called off today (August 10).

This move came after the irrigation authorities released water from Samanalawewa reservoir to the Udawalawe reservoir, sources said.

The All-Ceylon Agrarian Federation (ACAF) staged a ‘Satyagraha’ campaign in late July, urging the government to release water from Samanalawewa reservoir to Udawalawe reservoir.

The protesting farmers called off the ‘Satyagraha’ campaign, which entered its 18th consecutive day today (August 10), as they have now received adequate amounts of water for their croplands.

The irrigation authorities began releasing water from Samanalawewa reservoir to Udawalawe reservoir in the early hours of Tuesday (August 08) at a rate of 3.5 million cubic meters per day for three days after the Cabinet of Ministers green-lighted a proposal seeking to address the matter.

The active water capacity of the Udawalawe reservoir, which has a total water capacity of 217,800 acre-feet, had dropped to 956 acre-feet as of Monday morning (August 07). This was merely 0.45% of the full water capacity of the water body.

Under normal conditions, the Udawalawe reservoir releases at least 32,000 acre-feet of water per day during the farming season.

Udawalawe reservoir had released only 934 acre-feet of water to croplands on August 06, with 521 acre-feet of water from the right canal and 413 acre-feet of water from the left canal. After 545 acre-feet of water from Samanalawewa reservoir and Veli Oya was added to the Udawalawe reservoir that day.

It was reported that at least 800 acres of paddy fields and 100 hectares of additional crops were lost as a result of the insufficient amounts of water provided from the Udawalawe reservoir to croplands.