Sri Lanka farmers cautioned on water use in 2018 despite La Niña

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is expected to receive normal rains in the first three months of 2018, but the period is the driest in the year, and farmers should use water sparingly, the island’s agricultural authorities have said in a weather update.

Meteorologists have forecasted a few days of rain after January 09, including in the dry and intermediate zones of the island.

"Meanwhile, prevailing ocean-atmospheric conditions in the Central Eastern Pacific Ocean favors a La Nina type circulation while the Indian Ocean remains at neutral conditions," the Agro-climatology & Climate change Division said.

"These ocean atmospheric conditions again favor to generate expected amounts of rains during next three months from January to March."

But the first three months generally get the least amount of rain.

But, it should be noted that even though normal or slightly above normal rains would experience in coming three months, the quantum of such rains that would receive during each month of this period is the least compared to other months of the year across almost entire island.

"Hence, any significant increase in inflow to tanks and reservoirs cannot be expected in forthcoming months still late March," the statement said.

"Thus, it is highly advisable to use water available in irrigation tanks and reservoirs of the country very sparingly to ensure adequate water storage for the rest of 2017/2018 season."

Sri Lanka’s agriculture was hit by two years of drought with floods in some parts of the island.

In the Yala minor crops season Sri Lanka was estimated to have sown about 400,000 hectares, down 33 percent of the average of the three previous years.





About 1.04 million metric tonnes of rice was expected from the Yala season, the lowest in 10 years.

In the 2017 Maha season about 383,000 hectares of rice were sown producing 1.47 million tonnes of rice, about half the 2.9 million tonnes a year earlier. (Colombo/Jan11/2018)


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