Ever since it set up in 2012, the juice factory owned by Dabur Lanka (Pvt) Ltd has been the cause of severe water scarcity in Kotadeniya and 15 other adjacent villages including Velinhinda, Erabandha, Galingbure, Dhiyagampala and Halpe. Even villages like Halpe, which are situated 8km away from the factory have not escaped the effects of this escalating depletion of groundwater that has been instigated by over-extraction of the factory.
During a site visit conducted on the 28th of March, EFL’s investigation team learned that the factory gradually increased its water requirements till its 3 pumps within factory premises were extracting 342,000 litres a day by August 2013.This exploitative use of groundwater has taken a toll on the communities of this region, as they can barely meet their daily domestic and agricultural needs, as their wells have little or no water. One farmer noted that since the arrival of the factory, his yield per season reduced from 1700kg to 800kg. Mr. Mansoor, the owner of a plantation neighbouring the factory, has taken legal action and filed two cases against the factory.
However, the most pressing need for communities at the moment is water for daily consumption. While the DS Division of Divulapitiya has provided 2 1000 litre tanks sourced from the Maha oya each week, this is insufficient and households pay up to Rs.4000 a week to source clean water. This problem is so severe that it has prompted families to abandon their houses. Regulations for water extraction are necessary to ensure that factories do not exploit our country’s natural resources, denying communities of one of their most basic needs: clean water.