Around 1,000 kms of more than 200 waterfalls, rivers and streams have run dry by the activities of this hydropower mafia, they say.
National coordinator of the Environment and Nature Study Centre Ravindra Kariyawasam says a plan was made when Pavitra Wanniarachchi was the subject minister to build around 150 small hydropower plants, and 76 of them were permitted to operate.
That permission was granted without conducting any environment impact assessment and in violation of provisions in the national environment act, he charges.
More than 100 rivers and streams are threatened as a result, with the affected people not having a drop of drinking water.
There are alternative energy sources such as sea waves, wind, solar energy etc., but authorities are allowing the energy crisis to worsen into an environmental and economic crisis, he charges.
CEA chairman corrupt, no response from president
Environmentalists accuse the chairman of the Central Environment Authority of turning a blind eye to this situation, and held a protest on January 25 in front of the CEA accusing him of being corrupt.
Nothing has happened although the president has been informed of this as well, they say.
A private hydropower plant generates one mw of power, which is less than 0.024 per cent of the total national production of 4,200 mw.
Even if all the water sources are exhausted, less than five pc of the national requirement by 2025 could be met by small hydropower plants, environmentalists add.