Monday, December 24, 2007
The river that runs by my property
The river that runs by my property is called Minneriya Oya. It has water flowing perennially as it as a result of a leak of the Minneriya Tank. So with this extraordinary rains, the excess water from the paddy fields as well as some water from the Tank flows into this river which at my property is less than two KM from the tank. Overnight on Saturday night the continuous rain raised the level of water,so when I woke up (my bed is in the verandah) the water was all around me. It is a once in a lifetime feeling.
The whole village trooped in to my property to gaze!!! as they thought my place was under water. One old lady said she was 10 when in 1957 the Minneriya Tank burst its earthen bund and flooded the villages below and washed away many houses and many lives were lost. Since then she says, like clockwork there is a flood every ten years, recalling other great floods in 1967 and 1997 and said that this is another one of those in 2007.
I have built my cabin right on to the property line as denoted by the boundary stone just in front of the verandah, denoting how accurately the surveyors in 1935 surveyed the land and gave the 5 acre blocks to the farmers not encroaching on the river reservation which takes account of the flood stages of the river. They knew then and it is accurate today, the level of the flood plain that does not encroach on to the property itself, thus affecting the farmer adversely. I know it is a small point but it is worth remembering these pioneers of a bygone age that settle communities with property granted by the government to irrigate and cultivate new lands.