Victoria Dam is the tallest dam in Sri Lanka. The Victoria Dam construction business begins with the Mahaweli Development Program. It is the largest multi-purpose national development program in Sri Lanka. The main objective of this project is to carry out a number of national development activities centered on the Mahaweli River such as agriculture, hydropower generation, flood control, irrigation, land upliftment, and the upliftment of unemployed families. The first phase of this began in 1961 under the patronage of Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. After this, it was decided to start the next phase of the Mahaweli Development Project in 1977 under the leadership of President J.R. Jayewardene.
This work started when there was not even a radio in a house in Sri Lanka. The best thing is that from 1949 to 1980 surveys were done to build this dam. That means 31 years of research on this. In a situation like this, the Sri Lankan government cannot even think of getting involved in this work alone. Therefore, the then President J.R. Jayewardene, as well as the Minister of Land Development, Mahaweli Development, Power and Energy Gamini Dissanayake and the Minister of Trade and Shipping Lalith Athulathmudali are leading this Victoria movement with the assistance of the United Kingdom.
There are several main objectives expected from the Victoria Dam.
• Since our country is an agricultural country, store the water required for agricultural activities.
• Generate hydropower.
• Water consumption in areas above the dam
• Inland fisheries
• Annual major flood control
The Victoria Dam is built by connecting Denigala Kanda in the Thel Deniya Divisional Secretariat Division in the Kandy District of the Central Province and Bolagala Kanda in the Hanguranketha Divisional Secretariat Division in the Nuwara Eliya District of the Central Province. Although it was funded by the UK, Sri Lanka does not have the engineering know-how required to start such a complex large project. Therefore, this Victoria business was started in the 1980s in collaboration with Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners, a leading engineering company in England, and the Central Engineering Consultancy Task Force (CECB) in Sri Lanka.
The Victoria Dam is located at the narrowest point of the Mahaweli River below the confluence of the Hulu River and the Mahaweli River that flows through the central highlands of our country. Victoria Falls was located about 300 m below the dam. Surveys suggest that the dam will consist of a single black rock beneath the proposed site and that the rock layer will be about 237 meters below the ground. Therefore, the foundation of this dam has been made by digging this black rock to a depth of 25m and a width of 25m. The height of this dam is 122m and the total length of the dam is 520m. The architecture of this dam is called a double curvature concrete arch dam.
The maximum level of this reservoir is 438.04 meters above sea level. At this maximum level, Victoria Reservoir has a total water capacity of nearly one million cubic meters. The extent of the reservoir is 23.7 square kilometers. The other special thing is that there are 7 floors from the top to the bottom that can go inside this dam. The other special thing is that when the reservoir reaches its maximum capacity, the dam swings from 30mm to 68mm to withstand this pressure. This is a swinging dam. In fact, not a single iron wire was laid to build this dam. This concrete mix is specially formulated. Ice water is used to make a complete concrete mix. When concrete is mixed with ice water, it hardens quickly. Also, the concrete must be poured into the bulk within 3 minutes.
The Victoria Dam also generates 210 megawatts of electricity. This is the largest hydropower plant in Sri Lanka. The water from there goes to Randenigala Reservoir, then to Rantabe Reservoir, then to Loggal Oya Reservoir, then to Maveli C Zone, and then to Maduru Oya Reservoir. There are 8 automatic sluices. Only two sluices are open during the flood season. When these two sluices open 74 cm, 300 cubic meters of water comes out every second. Neil Martin, an Englishman, laid the foundation stone for this in the 1980s. Work on the 1984 dam is nearing completion. On April 7, 1984, the reservoir was filled with water. It was officially handed over to Sri Lanka in 1985.