Victoria Dam – Teldeniya


The Victoria Dam is located near Teldeniya near Kandy, crossed the Mahaweli Ganga. The direct path from Teldeniya to the site is along the jungle road, 5 Km long. Building work was ceremonially inaugurated on this Project by President Jayawardana on August 14, 1978. It was ceremonially referred to on April 12 1985.
Chief contractors for the Dam and Subway were the Joint British Venture, Balfour Beatty Nuttal and the Power Station was undertaken to Costan International.
This Dam is the highest dam in Sri Lanka and has the most central power station. It consists of a double curve arch dam of maximum height 122m, a circular concrete-lined tunnel of 6 meters diameter leading to 3 Francis turbines, each of 70 MW capacity and generating 780 GIGA Watt-hours, housed in a reinforced concrete power station 52 m long and 30m (98ft) wide. The dam, located between the Hulu Ganga gathering and the Mahaweli Ganga rapids called “Victoria Falls”, measures 507m along the top. The catchment region at this dam site is 1869 sq km, and the gross capacity is 728 M cu.m.at a total supply level of 438m. There is a 21-meter diameter concrete-lined chamber that protects the tunnel from surge effects.

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Dam and Powerhouse

Rising 122 meters (400 feet) tall, the Victoria Dam exhibits remarkable dimensions. With a crest length of 520 meters (1,706 feet), a crest width of 6 meters (20 feet), and a base width of 25 meters (82 feet), this architectural marvel creates the breathtaking Victoria Reservoir, boasting a surface area of 22.7 square kilometres (8.8 square miles). The reservoir has an impressive gross storage capacity of 722 million cubic meters (2.55×10^10 cubic feet) and a catchment area of 1,869 square kilometres (722 square miles).

A 5,646-meter (18,524-foot) long tunnel has been ingeniously constructed to channel the water from the dam to the powerhouse. This tunnel houses three penstocks, each measuring 6.2 meters (20.3 feet) in diameter. These penstocks facilitate a net head of 190 meters (623 feet) and power three 70 MW 12.5 kV turbines. The combined output of these turbines amounts to an astounding 780 GWh of electrical energy annually.

To control the water levels, the Victoria Dam has eight spillways, each measuring 12.5 meters (41 feet) in width and 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) in height. These spillways automatically open during periods of high water levels. Notably, the dam's gates, designed to require power only for closing, received recognition for "Innovative Design in Civil Engineering" from the Institution of Civil Engineers. The spillways, with a total effective width of 100 meters (328 feet), can accommodate a maximum discharge of 8,200 cubic meters per second (289,580 cubic feet per second). Furthermore, the dam features two additional low-level sluices at its base, enabling the removal of accumulated sediments.

Impact and Benefits

The construction of the Victoria Dam has yielded numerous positive impacts on Sri Lanka's development.

Irrigation and Agricultural Impact: One of the primary purposes of the dam is to facilitate irrigation across vast agricultural lands. The Victoria Dam's extensive reservoir ensures a reliable water supply to irrigate an expansive area of 365,000 hectares (901,935 acres). This irrigation infrastructure significantly contributes to increased agricultural productivity, enabling farmers to cultivate their lands and yield bountiful harvests.

Hydroelectric Power Generation: The Victoria Dam's colossal power station, with a capacity of 210 MW, is the largest hydroelectric power facility in Sri Lanka. By harnessing the immense force of water, this power station generates a substantial amount of clean energy. The electricity generated contributes to the national grid, providing power to industries, homes, and various sectors, fostering economic growth and reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Resettlement of Affected Population: While the construction of the Victoria Dam brought progress and prosperity, it also necessitated the resettlement of approximately 30,000 people. The dam's construction resulted in the relocation of these individuals to new settlements, which required careful planning and support to ensure their well-being and adaptation to the new surroundings.

The Victoria Dam stands tall, symbolizing Sri Lanka's dedication to progress and sustainable development. Through its irrigation capabilities and impressive hydroelectric power station, this arch dam is pivotal in boosting agricultural productivity and meeting the country's energy demands. The harmonious integration of engineering expertise and natural resources has created a vital infrastructure asset. The Victoria Dam continues to be a testament to Sri Lanka's resilience, engineering prowess, and commitment to a brighter future.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How tall is the Victoria Dam? The Victoria Dam reaches an impressive height of 122 meters (400 feet).

2. Who initiated the construction of the Victoria Dam? The construction of the Victoria Dam was initiated under the patronage of President Junius Richard Jayewardene.

3. What is the purpose of the Victoria Dam? The Victoria Dam serves the purposes of irrigation and hydroelectric power production.

4. How much does the Victoria Dam's power station generates electricity? The power station at the Victoria Dam has a capacity of 210 MW and generates approximately 780 GWh of electrical energy annually.

5. What awards has the Victoria Dam received? The dam's gates, designed with innovative features, have won the "Innovative Design in Civil Engineering" award from the Institution of Civil Engineers.


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