Kantale Wewa in the Trincomalee District builtcovers area of 23 sq km and has a carrying capacity of 115Mn million cubic meters at full capacity. The large embankment dam is 4,267 m long, and over 15 m high is built to use water for irrigation, by impounding Per Aru, a small river discharging into the Koddiyar Bay, at Trincomalee Harbour.
In 1986, the dam was breached sending wall of water over villages downstream. The resulting floods killed over 120 people, destroyed over 1,600 houses and 2,000 acres of paddy affecting over 8,000 families. Though the dam breach has since been reconstructed, the main cause of the breach was due to extra-heavy vehicles being driven over the dam.
When an attempt was made to construct a jogging track on the dam, the Kantale Farmers’ Union and the Maha Sangha protested along with locals with bad, long memory of dam breaching. Rs. 20 million allocated for construction make clear that government was spending money on unnecessary projects.
In this scenario, the Director General of Irrigation confirmed that the attempt to construct a jogging track on the dam of Kantale Wewa was suspended!