Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sri Lanka' punishing heat wave

Amantha Perera in IPS: Sri Lanka is heading into a major crisis under extreme heat, as the rains stay away. Fears are growing of power cuts and interruption to the water supply because reservoir levels are running scarily low. By the third week of February, the Ceylon Electricity Board said it was relying on expensive thermal generators for 76 percent of the country’s power supply.

Around August 2012, extended dry weather almost dried up hydro-reservoirs. The country spent over two billion dollars to import furnace oil. The drought impacted over a million persons, according to the Sri Lanka Red Cross. Power supply and the vital paddy harvest are likely to be hit if the rains stay away for longer.

The 2012 dry spell was followed by heavy rains that allowed hydro-power to gain lost ground last year. That vicious cycle could be repeating itself. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said last week that changing climate patterns have had a serious impact on the country’s fortunes. “Sri Lanka also is impacted by climate change in the form of droughts, floods and other natural disasters. We take these matters into consideration when framing monetary policy,” he said during a live Twitter interaction.

According to experts, power supply and the vital paddy harvest are likely to be hit if the rains stay away for longer. Asoka Abeygunawardana, executive director of the Sri Lanka Energy Forum and Advisor to the Ministry of Technology, told IPS that Sri Lanka’s power supply was too dependent on hydro-power or on costly coal and furnace oil....

Sri Lanka's Victoria Dam in wetter times in 2009, shot by Chamal N, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license 

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