The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) faced critical challenges, and the increase in water tariff was necessary to solve those challenges and ensure that all Sri Lankans would continue to have access to clean drinking water, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeevan Thondaman said.
He mentioned that the increase was driven by several factors, including the surge in electricity tariffs, which contribute significantly to the cost of water production, the President’s Media Division (PMD) reported.
Additionally, the burden of debt (due to past capital expenditure to expand water infrastructure), compounded by currency depreciation and interest rate hikes, together with the exponential increase in the cost of raw materials required to treat water, added to the financial strain on the NWSDB, he said.
These circumstances resulted in substantial monthly losses of nearly Rs. 2.8 billion and an annual loss of Rs. 34 billion, hindering the Board’s ability to meet operational expenses, service debts, and maintain the quality of water supply services, the Minister added.
He expressed these views yesterday (18) during a press conference themed ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC), according to the PMD.
Meanwhile, the Minister said that a Cabinet Paper has been passed to commemorate 200 years since upcountry Tamil workers migrated to Sri Lanka from India and who have been contributing to the national economy in various ways since then. On the first week of November, an event will be held in lieu with government’s vision, and it will highlight the community as a whole, he added.
A Presidential Task Force will be formed soon to deal with injustice that happen to the upcountry community. Young individuals comprising of professionals representing different fields, who have been a part of the system have been selected for this Task Force, the Minister further said.