Overuse of rivers will result in major water crisis – Study | Daily News

Overuse of rivers will result in major water crisis – Study

State Minister Duminda Dissanayake inspecting the Malwathu Oya River Rehabilitation Program.
State Minister Duminda Dissanayake inspecting the Malwathu Oya River Rehabilitation Program.

Irrigation and environmental experts warned that over exploitation of rivers will result in a major water crisis in the country before long.

According to a recent survey, 27 rivers including Mahaweli, Kalu, Kelani, Ma, Deduru, Kala, Malwathu, Gin and Nilwala have been heavily damaged in unwarranted human activities mainly in sand, gem and clay mining with heavy machinery and equipment.

Apart from 103 major rivers, a number of smaller drainage basins in the coastal areas have also been damaged.

The Ma Oya, Kala and Kelani Rivers have been severely damaged during the past three decades with illegal mining. The Kelani River has been badly damaged and its banks at many places have been severely affected. A foundation of a pier along the Hanwella-Kiridiwela Road had exposed in the river bed erosion and steps have been taken to restore the bridge at a huge cost.

During low river flows, sea water flows in many rivers affecting the Ambatale water intake. Construction of a salinity barrier across the Kelani River to stop water contamination is in progress now.

The Irrigation Department has taken steps to preserve the Malwathu Oya River as well. Illegal sand mining, disposal of various impurities and garbage in to the river, using river banks for agriculture and invasive aquatic plants have blocked water flowing.

Widening, cleaning and disposing of sediments of the Malwathu Oya from the German Bridge close to Anuradhapura Prison up to the Galkadawala anicut is now in progress covering eight kilo meters under the first phase of the restoration programme at a cost of Rs 20 million, the Anuradhapura Zonal Irrigation Director said.