The government yesterday said it will have to decide on a water tariff revision soon given the precarious financial situation of the Water Resources and Drainage Board.
These sentiments were expressed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Town Planning and Water Management Minister Rauff Hakeem during the opening of a water supply project at Habaragoda in Homagama last evening.
“There is migration towards urban areas and suburbs of Colombo are getting urbanizing fast. The government is facing the task of providing infrastructure facilities such as water and electricity to these areas. The sky scrapers that are coming up in the city have increased the demand for water and power. Accordingly water projects worth Rs 300 billion are in the pipeline. The Water Resources and Drainage Board is heavily in debt because of the increase in the number of water supply projects that is to come up. One half of the population in Sri Lanka are still without pipe-borne water. They need water and we need to generate funds to supply them with water. If the Water Resources and Drainage Board cannot generate funds it will have to be suspended. We have to make a choice whether we are going to generate funds or whether we are going y to close it down,” the Prime Minister said.
However he assured that the government will increase the revenue of people through investors both foreign and local. “We will have to open the economy for the foreign and local investors just like China and India in order to help people earn good revenue,” he said.
Minister Hakeem who elaborated on the water tariffs said the government will soon make a decision on it. “We did try to increase water tariff recently. However there was misunderstanding on the part of the people as a result of false media reports. We were going to exempt Samurdhi recipients from the tariff increase. Any how the government will discuss about the tariff hike and make a decision soon,” the Minister said. (Yohan Perera)