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Sri Lanka: Environment Protection and Water Supply

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 21349, tabled on 23 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on the (a) water security and (b) environmental situations in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

Answered on

2 July 2021

The UK Government is aware of the challenges Sri Lanka faces around water management and quality and the unique challenges faced by communities in Northern Sri Lanka. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo raised the issue of water quality during a visit to the North in July 2020. The Minister of State for South Asia, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, also discussed this issue with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK in December 2020.

A number of public bodies in Sri Lanka, including the national water supply and drainage board, have conducted tests and compensation has been offered to those affected by water pollution caused by the Chunnakam Power plant. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo discussed this issue in May 2021 with a contact in Jaffna, and we understand that in March 2021 discussions took place with the Northern Provincial Council that also involved further testing.

We will continue to engage with the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka in support of clean water provision.