Whose thirst is quenched by destroying a forest?
Dunumadalawa forest is suppressed by a bottled water project – responsible parties remain silent! (photos and videos)
It has been reported that there is a plan to initiate a bottled water project in Dunumadalawa forest, which belongs to the Kandy Municipal Council.
This forest covers an area of 746 acres and contains two lakes, namely, Dunumadalawa lake and Rosnith lake. According to data provided by the Kandy Municipal Council, these lakes supply 10% of the total water requirement of Kandy.
25 lacks worth of project
But, municipal councillor Kumara Gonawala mentioned that the Kandy Municipal Council is initiating a project to bottle water in a terrain close to lake reserve. For preliminary tasks of the project, the Municipal Council has allocated 25 lacks from the budget, he further mentioned.
This allocation has been made according to a report dated 16th March 2017, presented by the hydraulics engineer of Kandy Municipal Council.
Damages to the forest floor
S.P. Liyanaarchchi, the convener of Central Province Environment Organizations Union, mentioned that the preliminary preparations of the bottled water project have already been commenced and he has observed the damage happening due to discarded soil. At the time of inspections done by his organization, the selected field has been under the preparation process and they have seen backhoes and tractors in the field, he further mentioned.
Dunumadalawa forest, located between 1800 to 3500 feet above sea level, belongs to the mid country wet zone. This forest, situated on the edge of Hantana mountain range, is a terrain rich of endemic animals and plants. Environmentalists have identified that this forest is the home to 12 species of endemic birds out of all 33 endemic bird species in Sri Lanka.
A property of Kandy Municipal Council – a blend of forests
A combination of forests in all types of climates in Sri Lanka can be seen in this forest. It also consists of rare plants and local medicinal plants. Sri Lanka’s largest liana, which is 5 feet and 9 inches in girth, is found in this forest and it covers an area of 4 acres. This forest, which is rich in epiphytes, lichens, ferns and mushrooms, has not been declared a reserve as of yet and remains a property of the Kandy Municipal Council.
Intended to supply water for people?
Although supplying water is predominantly a duty of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, provincial authorities also perform that duty, said Gamini Senarath, the director of Urban Water Project of Kandy. He further mentioned that his organization has not been informed about supplying water within Kandy city, rise of amount of water supplied by the Municipal Council or water being acquired from a new source.
However, in order to carry out a bottled water project, at private or state level, obtaining approval from the National Water Supply and Drainage Board is not mandatory, Sarath Gamini further stated.
Silent policy on environmental threats
When we inquired about the environmental damage caused by the proposed bottled water project from Chandana Thennakoon, the Urban Commissioner of Kandy Municipal Council, he mentioned that he cannot provide any statement regarding the project.
Nadeeka Daya Bandara - Kandy