Nuwara Eliya is facing a serious water shortage as a result of the islandwide drought. But the drought is not entirely to blame. Illegal water tapping, it was confirmed yesterday, has been depriving residents of their rightful share of water for at least 15 years.
An official team from Nuwara Eliya, comprising the Mayor, Municipal member M. Faleel and others, trekked two kilometres through rough terrain and thick jungle area to find out the truth of a complaint made years ago that Nuwara Eliya’s water supply was being illegally tapped for cultivation purposes. The team discovered a water pipe line, two-inches in diameter, running through the forest. Two other pipe-lines taking water meant for the residents of Hawa-eliya were directed towards another area.
The Mayor said he would consider taking legal action against those who have been pilfering water. The demand for water has gone up in the last 20 years with population growth, he said, and one alternative was to sink tube wells. Since 2007, he has ordered the construction of seven tube wells at a cost of Rs. 135 million.The Mayor said the water from the Lovers’Leap waterfall was more than enough for the townfolks’ daily needs. The fall supplies water to factories and residential areas. The daily water collection, formerly 90,000 litres, has dropped to 10,000 litres, forcing residents to obtain water from tube wells.