Chinese Sinohydro Corporation Limited wins contract to build irrigation system in Sri Lanka
The Rs. 6.1 billion contract to construct a Sri Lankan irrigation project called the Upper Elahera canal which would transfer water for irrigation from a major river to a storage tank has been won by China’s Sinohydro Corporation Limited.
The design and build contract is for the transfer canal comprising of two tunnels 8 kilometers in length from the Kalu Ganga river tank to Moragahakanda tank, the open canal way, aqueducts and the associated structures, reports state.
It is a project of the Mahaweli Water Security Investment Programme, which is under the purview of President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment.
The Chinese contractor Sinohydro had earlier won a US$ 250 million contract to build the headworks for the 521 million m3 Moragahakanda reservoir.
According to reports, the projects are part of the government’s Mahaweli River Development Programme, a multipurpose development consisting of five dams at Kotmale, Victoria, Randenigala-Rantambe, Maduru Oya and Moragahakanda, and the installation of 600 MW of hydroelectric capacity.
The Moragahakanda reservoir provides irrigation water facilities to 81,422 ha, and has 20 MW of hydroelectric capacity.
Upper Elahera Canal Project comprises of two segments – the first component is the construction of the Kalu Ganga-Moragahakanda Transfer Canal, including two tunnels that will transfer water between the Kalu Ganga and Moragahakanda reservoirs.
The second component is the construction of the Upper Elahera Canal that connects the Moragahakanda reservoir to the existing reservoirs at Huruluwewa, Manankattiya, Eruwewa and Mahakanadarawa which feed existing irrigation and water supply schemes.
The project is aimed at enabling the cultivation of agricultural lands in both Yala and Maha seasons without interruption of water supplies as well as improving access to safe drinking.
The mega irrigation project won by China’s Sinohydro has opened up opportunities for companies providing goods and heavy machinery for construction purposes to supply their products for this massive project. On the other hand, the completion of the project would result in the possibility of cultivating many agricultural lands that are currently cast aside due to the lack of water. Therefore, investors looking at investing in Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector could look at agriculture projects in areas that would be irrigated by the mega canal project. Another investment opportunity is to set up drinking water purification plants using water from the new project.
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