Oct 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management has rejected local media reports that claimed the government is to impose a tax on ground water wells.
Rejecting the media reports, the Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has explained that it is the government's responsibility to protect the underground water deposits of the country and ensure that these resources are available for the future generation.
The Water Resources Board, realizing that the overuse of the underground water resources indiscriminately could cause severe problems in the future, has initiated discussions to control of the underground water usage by businesses for industrial purposes.
The Ministry says that currently a large quantity of underground water is used mainly for business and industrial purposes and it has been suggested to register business premises which obtain underground water and impose a levy on such premises in order to cover up the cost incurred for measuring the water they may use.
These measures are still under discussion at the Board level and no final decision has been reached, the Minister said.
Local media recently reported that an annual permit at fees ranging from Rs.7,500 to Rs.15,000 will be required for digging traditional or tube wells to obtain water for drinking, agriculture, commercial or industrial purposes.
The Water Resources Board confirming the Minister's statement said the suggestion for businesses to get a permit is still being discussed and no Cabinet paper has been prepared or presented yet on the matter.
The board also assured that the considered monitoring mechanism will only be implemented on industrial and business premises which use underground water on a large scale.
The water supply authority reiterated that it has no intention to impose taxes on surface or tube wells belonging to individuals or society based organizations using well water for domestic or agricultural purposes.