Victoria Reservoir and Dam
Considered the crown jewel of Mahaweli Development Project, The Victoria Dam is built at a deep valley just above the Victoria Falls rapids and 300 meters below the point where the Hulu Ganga meets the Mahaveli River. The construction of the dam began in 1978 and was ceremoniously opened in 1985 which was graced by Margaret Thatcher, then prime-minister of UK. The funding, design and the technical expertise was provided by United Kingdom and the projects most memorable event was recorded when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II visited the construction site on October 24, 1981.
The dam is 520 meters long, 122 meters high and has a width of 6 meters at the crest and 25 meters at the base. The dam was built as a double curvature arch dam. Water from the dam is fed to the powerhouse via a 5,646 m long tunnel, which houses three penstocks of 6.2 m diameter. These penstocks created a net head of 190 m , feeding three 70 MW 12.5 kV turbines, which are capable of generating up to 780 GWh of electrical energy annually.
The dam consists of eight spillways, each with a width and height of 12.5 m and 6.5 m, which automatically opens when water levels are high. The dam’s gates, which needs power only to close, won an award for “Innovative Design in Civil Engineering” by the Institution of Civil Engineers. The total effective width of the spillways is 100 m , allowing a maximum discharge of 8,200 cubic m/s. Two additional low-level sluices at the base of the dam allows the purging of accumulated silts behind the dam.
The dam creates the Victoria Reservoir which covers consist of a surface area of 22.7 km2 and gross storage capacity of 722,000,000 cubic meters. Under the reservoir lies the old Teldeniya Town which went under water when the reservoir was filled. This ghost town rises from the waters once every few years during the driest periods of the year.
The Victoria dam can be accessed only from the North East side from the Kandy Mahiyangana Road. The Observation Center provides a comprehensive view of the dam and the surrounding area.
From Kandy, travel 32 km on the Mahiyangana Road (A26) passing Kundasale and Rajawella. Take the road towards the Victoria Dam Observation Point from Moragahamula Junction and travel a further 8 km to reach the point.