Upper Elahera Canal Project (UECP)

The UECP is a project initiated by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the current water shortages in the North Central and Northern Provinces. Where at present, both these provinces face water deficits for irrigation and drinking water.

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The project, Upper Elehara Canal (UEC), canal from Mannakkattiya tank to Mahakanadarawa tank and Kaluganga-Moragahakanda Link Canal project is proposed by the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, Government of Sri Lanka to improve the irrigation and water needs of Northern and North Central Provinces.

The UEC as it is commonly referred to, is part of the North Central Province Canal Project (NCPCP) which in turn is a component of the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Project (AMDP) of Sri Lanka. In response to the recurrent water shortages in the North Central Province (NCP) and the Eastern Province (EP), the Moragahakanda and Kaluganga reservoir projects were initiated in 2009. And due to the increasing trends of industrialization, urbanization and more land being opened up for development after the improved security situation since 2009 have resulted in additional water demands from the Northern Province, North Western Province and the Eastern Province. In the past, several studies have been carried out to evaluate the available options for water transfer from Moragahakanda reservoir to Norther Centeral Province to overcome these water demands. UECP is a project initiated under NCPCP to overcome the current water demand.

Project Map

The UECP comprises two components. 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 Huruluwewa, Manankattiya, Eruwewa and Mahakanadarawa (including in total 28 km of tunnels). These reservoirs feed existing irrigation and water supply schemes. Estimated cost of the project is LKR 65,000 million.

Benefits after the Project Completion

  • Target agricultural lands can be cultivated in both Yala & Maha seasons without interruption of water supplies.
  • Access to safe drinking water will be improved.
  • Tanks such as Huruluwewa, Manankattiya and Mahakandarawa will be fed ed continuously.
  • Employment opportunities during the project implementation period will be created for  people in the surrounding areas.
Project Constructions (Image courtesy of official UECP Facebook Page)
Project Constructions (Image courtesy of official UECP Facebook Page)

Constructions related to the Project

  • 8.83 Km long Kalu Ganga-Moragahakanda Transfer Canal (including 7.9 km of tunnel).
  • Tail race canal from power flow – 104 meters.
  • Concrete lined open canal – 22.6 Km.
  • Elevated flume (across natural stream – Heerati oya) – 331 meters.
  • Level crossing reservoirs and transition – 4 km.
  • Cut and covered conveyance – 10 km.
  • Tunnel conveyance (TBM & DB) – 28.5 km.
  • Establishment of a control centre for the North Central Province Canal.

The construction of canal is currently undertaking and will be commissioned in near future harvesting hundreds of acres of agricultural fields while fulfilling the water needs of North and North Central Provinces.

Huruluwewa Tank
Moragahakanda Dam