News 1st Special Report: Sri Lanka’s water resource under threat

News 1st Special Report: Sri Lanka’s water resource under threat

News 1st Special Report: Sri Lanka’s water resource under threat

Written by Lahiru Fernando

08 Aug, 2016 | 10:02 pm

Is the country’s water resource under threat due to large scale human activity in the central hills?

Kitulgala, a scenic paradise and popular tourist attraction is a major catchment area that nourishes the Kelani River.

2013 – The Broadlands Hydro Power Project

Through the project, the Kelani River which flows across Kitulgala, Popitiya was diverted, carrying water to the power plant in Kalubothenna.

The tunnel being constructed across the Polpitiya village, has already given rise to numerous issues.”We came to these homes on the 25th of February 1981. Given that the houses are sinking for the first time in 35 years, the only reason we can find is this construction site,” said a resident.
The Ambagamuwa Divisional Coordination Committee on August 8 decided to temporarily halt the project until compensation is given to 32 families.

However, no one has succeeded as yet in mitigating the irreparable harm that is being caused to the natural beauty and bio-diverse eco system of Polpitiya. Cave-ins reported in Polpitiya on Sunday, August 7 bear testament to the environmental destruction that has been done.

Similar harm was caused to people residing in Makuluella, Bandarawela, as a result of the Uma-Oya multipurpose project in January last year. This was caused by a leak in the tunnel carrying excess water from the Dayaraba Reservoir under the Uma Oya project to the underground power plant being constructed in Karandagolla.

Wells which were full of water only days before, emptied before the eyes of the villagers of Makuluella…

According to the News 1st correspondent who visited the area today, the underground springs in Heel Oya located close to Makuluella, are also emptying at a rapid pace.

“No matter how hard the sun shone, Bandarawela was never short of water. Even if there was a water shortage, the stream would flow on. Water was plentiful here. You could hear the rumbling of the underground springs from here. Today, Bandarawela is becoming like Hambantota and Trincomalee. There isn’t a drop of water,” explained a resident.

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