Sri Lanka tests artificial rains to avoid power cuts

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka has successfully conducted a test on artificial rains in the tea-growing mountain region where hydroelectric power is generated, in a bid to avoid possible power cuts during the dry season, a spokesman said Friday.

An aircraft from the Sri Lanka Air Force sprayed chemicals on Friday on clouds about 8,000 feet above one of the reservoirs that provide water to generate hydroelectric power, resulting in a 45-minute rain, said Ushantha Warnakumara, a spokesman at the ministry of power and energy.

The ministry resorted to creating artificial rains because the dry season has reduced water levels in the reservoirs used to generate hydroelectric power.

One-hour to two-hour power cuts have occurred since last week in many parts as the country, which has been experiencing a severe dry season.

Friday's artificial rain occurred in the area of Maussakelle reservoir, about 135 kilometers east of the capital, Colombo.

Thailand has provided the technical knowledge to create artificial rains by sending a special team of engineers to launch the project.

"Friday's artificial rains were a pilot project, and it was very successful," Warnakumara said. He added that the ministry will continue to create artificial rains over the next two weeks in the island's hill country where most of the country's hydroelectric power is generated.

Sri Lanka largely depends on rains to generate power. During dry seasons, the country faces power cuts when the water levers in the reservoirs go down, making it difficult to generate power.

Most of the biggest hydroelectric power plants have been built in the hill country, where world-famous Ceylon tea is grown.

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