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Large diameter shallow Agro-wells – a national asset or a burden for the nation?

Author:

A. N. Jayakody

University of Peradeniya, LK
About A. N.
Professor, Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya
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Abstract

Large diameter open dug Agro-wells have become increasingly popular among farmers in the Dry and Intermediate Zones of Sri Lanka during the decades of 1980 and 1990. The numbers have expanded up to around 50,000 in an unprecedented manner as those were meant to serve as sources of water for irrigation of agricultural crops during the much drier Yala season as well as during the water stress times of the Maha season.

However, the haphazard expansion of Agro-wells has created complications after some time of use pertaining to the quantity and quality of available water. As Agrowells were constructed frequently by neglecting the appropriate technical norms, drying up of those have been experienced very often along with a lowering of the groundwater level in the respective areas. Moreover, the water in Agro-wells started to show increasing salt concentrations over the period of usage, which has affected the soils and crops detrimentally. As a result, farmers by now have abandoned a considerable number of Agro-wells, which were constructed by spending a significant amount of money.

As such, this paper describes the past and present scenarios of Agro-well farming in Sri Lanka considering the Agro-well net in the country as a national asset and attempts to suggest some possible trustworthy measures to be considered for efficient use and proper re-use of abandoned Agro-wells diverting away from the popularly accepted common paradigm “Agro-wells are only for irrigation of agricultural crops”.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jas.v2i1.8108
How to Cite: Jayakody, A.N., (2006). Large diameter shallow Agro-wells – a national asset or a burden for the nation?. Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 2(1), pp.1–10. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jas.v2i1.8108
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Published on 04 Jan 2006.
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