Sri Lanka raises water tariffs amid economic crisis, to take effect September 1

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In order to cope with the devastating economic crisis, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Water Supply announced on Saturday August 27 that it was increasing water tariffs which will come into effect on September 1, according to ANI. Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal to revise water and sewer charges to reduce recurrent operational costs and working capital loan obligations of the Water Supply and Drainage Board in amid looming financial difficulties in the Southeast Asian country. Sri Lanka’s information department had announced in a statement that the tariff revision was necessary to ensure uninterrupted water supply in all cities.

According to a Gazette notification published on August 27, the government announced that it had no choice but to increase water tariffs in order to reduce the costs associated with supplying water to citizens. The Colombo National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) has said that water tariffs will be increased from September 1, 2022, with approval received on August 9 from the Cabinet. This would ensure that the recurrent monitoring costs and liability of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board’s equipment loan services are covered.

The pricing formula reflecting Sri Lankan costs

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Spokesman, Bandula Gunawardena, clarified that the measure was in line with the cost-reflective pricing formula envisaged by the government amid the heartbreaking monetary situation facing the country. The proposal for implementing the plan was tabled by the Minister of Water Supply. Any citizen who fails to pay their bills will have their water supply cut off as per NWSDB law.

“When the water supply charge and the sanitation charge payable by a person for any month are not paid within thirty days from the date of receipt of a payment invoice relating to these charges, water services will be cut off Or/And the sewer connection will be disabled in accordance with Section 88 (01) of the National Water Board Act No. 2 of 1974 ‘water supply and drainage’, reads the notice.

Sri Lankan Water Supply Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said sewerage charges under domestic tariff, commercial tariff and industrial tariff will now depend on total water consumption by citizens for the month concerned, according to the notice of the gazette. ANI too reported that the consumer who deploys an alternative water supply source besides the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) will be deemed to pay another bill with additional amount. This cost will be determined from time to time by the NWSDB Managing Director for user charges for alternative water supply.

“The consumer who took a sewer connection without a NWSDB water connection shall pay an estimated remediation fee based on sewage generation which will be determined by the appointed field inspection team by NWSDB with the client,” Saturday’s notice read.

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