Despite the leaders of Sri Lanka pledging to reduce deforestation during the climate summit, rainforests in Sri Lanka continue to be destroyed at an alarming rate.
A new and significant threat comes in the form of mini-hydro projects currently in construction with government approval within protected reserves and environmentally sensitive highly biodiverse catchment areas. Each mini-hydro project constructed within protected rainforests destroy hundreds of mature canopy trees and give way for penstock (concrete channel) from weir to the powerhouse that stretch for several kilometers.
The Koskulana river forms the northern boundary of Sinharaja, This 0.6 MW mini-hydro project approved by Central Environmental Authority and Forest Conservation Department directly affects a 0.5 km stretch of the Koskulana river which will run dry due to the weir and intake of water for the project.
Initially exposed as an illegal mini-hydro project, two court cases were filed against it by Public Interest Litigation Firm and Environmental Foundation (Guarantee) Limited in January. The project is on suspension due to non-renewal of the land permit (expired in January, 2016) and Development Permit expired on the 13th of February. Therefore, no progress of the development has been taken place since December 2015.