Bomuruella Mini Hydro Power Plant, Sri Lanka

Amazing falls in the Seetha Eliya Forest Reserve under threat for a small hydro plant. EFL filed a case for the irregularities in the Environmental Impact Assessment


Located in the Nuwara Eliya district, the proposed project came within the Kandapola – Seetha Eliya Forest Reserve. It involved the construction of a 9.2 MW mini hydro power plant on the Bomuruella Falls situated in the upper reaches of the Uma Oya,which is on a higher elevation and an important catchment area.  The EJO Environmental Foundation Limited filed a case against the project requesting that the approval granted by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), be cancelled. It also requested the court to quash the annual permit given by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). In August 2004, the Court of Appeal ordered the implementation of the hydro power project be suspended. An article in the Sunday Observer reports citation from legal experts of EFL: "The proposed site is in an environmentally sensitive area with rich bio-diversity but no EIA has been carried out so far. Only an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) Report, not for public comment, was prepared", Vinod Moonasinghe, EFL information officer, claimed. According to the EFL, the private company was granted the approval based on the IEE, which is a mere report to ascertain the environmental impacts of the project. The EFL has also charged the responsible authorities for not carrying out site inspection to evaluate the geological features of slope stability and drainage pattern of slopes between the wire and the fore bay tank. " The power house is to be constructed at an elevation of nearly 1270 metres above sea level and the necessary slope excavation could effect the stability of the hill side", he said. The EFL has warned of grave and irreparable damage to the environment if the project is implemented, including deforestation, loss of endemic flora, soil erosion and earth slips. " Over 1420 trees will be cut to construct the power plant and this would affect the rainfall pattern," Moonasinghe added.

Basic Data
NameBomuruella Mini Hydro Power Plant, Sri Lanka
CountrySri Lanka
ProvinceCentral Province
SiteNuwara Eliya
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsProject Capacity - 9.2 MW
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date12/10/2003
End Date31/07/2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesManikawita Hydro-Power Development (Private) Limited from Sri Lanka - Proponent
Relevant government actorsForest Department

Central Environmental Authority
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEnvironmental Foundation (Guarantee) Limited
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project cancelled
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The Court found that the approval was invalid and ordered the respondent to conduct a thorough Environmental Impact Assessment of the project
Sources and Materials

R. Jayasinghe, N. Bandara and K. Mohotti, "Contamination Sources of Bomuruella Reservoir at Nuwara Eliya," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2011, pp. 271-279. doi: 10.4236/jep.2011.23030.
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Bomuruella Hydro Power Plant- EFL wins first round
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Bomuruella Mini Hydro Power Plant - Legal Portfolio, Environmental Foundation Limited.
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The Sunday Leader - NPP Fails To Consider Impacts On Environment
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The Sunday Observer - Bomuruella Hydro Power Project : EFL wins first round, by Shanika Sriyananda
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Other Documents

View on the Bomuruella Falls Source:
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Meta Information
ContributorEnvironmental Foundation Limited
Last update09/03/2016