Sri Lanka

An Impending Drought Could Cost Sri Lanka Billions

Jan 27, 2017
Colombo: The warnings are stark, the instructions, for a change, clear. Sri Lanka is heading into one of its worst droughts in recent history, and according to some estimates, the worst in 30 years. The reservoirs are running on empty, at 30% or less capacity. Only 12% of the island’s power generation is currently from hydropower and 85% comes from thermal, with a staggering 41% from coal.
The rains have stayed away like never before. According to a recent survey by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the government, last year’s rains were 23% less than the 30-year average.
Now the instructions: Use water sparingly, do not wash vehicles with pipe-borne water, do not put air conditioning below 26°C, and light bonfires in the morning if you want to protect your crops from the morning mist, a forerunner, according to local yore, of a impending drought.
“It is a very serious situation, something that we have not faced in a long time, but we are taking precautions,” said Lalith Chandarapala, the head of the Meteorological Department. It was his department that first warned of the drought when the rains failed yet again last year around September.
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The Wire, January 26, 2017

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