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* Sri Lankans warned of water cuts and power cuts if drought continues
Sun, Mar 2, 2014, 01:38 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 02, Colombo: The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) of Sri Lanka has warned of water cuts if the current drought weather conditions experienced in the country continue further.

NWSDB Chairman Karunasena Hettiarachchi has said that water cuts will be imminent if rains are not experienced this month.

He told the media that sporadic rains experienced over the past few weeks has been insufficient to improve the water levels in the Kelani Ganga, Maha Oya and Kalu Ganga and the water levels have seen only a marginal increase.

Meanwhile, Meteorological Department Forecasting Division Director S. R. Jayasekara said that even though rain was expected in several parts of the country it would not be sufficient for agricultural purposes or to fill the reservoirs. The country did not have significant rains since mid-November.

The Department of Agriculture expects this year's paddy harvest to decrease by 7-10 percent due to the shortage of rainfall. The drought has affected the tea plantations in the central highlands also threatening a drop in tea production.

Receding water levels in hydropower reservoirs have dropped hydropower generation down to 16.1 percent and the thermal power generation has been increased up to 82.5 percent to meet the demand, the country's power authority, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said.

With the increase in thermal energy, the CEB is incurring heavy losses and the authority said it may be forced to impose power cuts soon if there is no rain to generate hydropower.

The NWSDB said it would be forced to impose water cuts, if no rains in the coming weeks and asked the public to use water sparingly without watering plants and washing vehicles at this stage.

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