Connect with us

News

National Audit Office finds great risk of groundwater depletion due to overextraction

Published

on

Tubewell in Jaffna

There is a risk of groundwater depletion in the future due to unrestricted groundwater extraction, a National Audit Office report, titled ‘Evaluating the Legal Mechanism and Its Functionality of Ground Water Management in Sri Lanka’ has said.

The Audit Office has said that there is a risk of increasing contamination of groundwater due to the use of agrochemicals and various other activities.

The report says there is a lack of existing legal provisions for the protection of groundwater. For example the Water Resources Board, the institution that had been identified as the Groundwater Management Authority, has not prepared and activated a National Policy on Groundwater Management and this could be a stumbling block for the achievement of sustainable groundwater management by the year 2030.

“Groundwater is one of the most valuable natural resources in Sri Lanka and a large number of people use groundwater. About 80% of the rural population meets their domestic needs through groundwater. Farming activities in Jaffna, Ampara, Mannar, Puttalam and Vavuniya depend entirely on groundwater,” the report said.

The National Audit Office says that following the enactment of the Local Government Act No. 42 of 1987 by the 13th Amendment, the responsibility for the management of groundwater came under the purview of the relevant Provincial Councils and through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution delegated management responsibility for other mineral resources.

Many landowners decide what to do with groundwater available to them. “Accordingly, the use of groundwater by landowners, investors and public, places it in an unrestricted and non-acceptable manner and has been allowed to be used without regard to future environmental impacts on groundwater consumption,” the report observes.

It states that 443 tube well constructing institutions had registered with the Water Resources Board as at 30 June 2020. The Audit Office adds that in many parts of the country, water was traditionally taken for domestic purposes through shallow wells.

“Groundwater has traditionally been used for irrigation only in a limited number of areas, such as the Jaffna District. However, over the past two decades, groundwater has been used extensively for irrigation in an unorganised manner. Government and nongovernmental organisations have encouraged the construction of wells and provided financial assistance”.

The Audit Office states that this tendency has led to a drop in the groundwater level in the dry zone where a large number of wells have been dug. Some wells have been abandoned and there have been reports of brackish water coming through the wells. Groundwater density is very high in some areas.

“Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is also reported to be more prevalent in areas where well water density is high. An assessment of groundwater resources needs to be done to determine whether this resource is being used on a scientific basis and prudently,” the report said.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

Published

on

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

Continue Reading

News

SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

Published

on

By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

Continue Reading

News

A/L may be delayed by one month

Published

on

Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

Continue Reading

Trending