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Construction of Large Dams and their Impact on Cultural Landscape: A Study in Victoria Reservoir and the Surrounding Area

Authors:

CJ Wijesundara,

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture University of Peradeniya, LK
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NDK Dayawansa

Department of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

Large dam projects are implemented aiming for multiple benefits including water for agriculture, power generation and flood control. There are considerable environmental and social changes behind these large dam projects, which have not been discussed openly compared to the benefits received from them. However, it is important to analyse the social and environmental changes that could occur as a result of these dam projects in order to evaluate the net benefits received. This study focused on studying the changes in the cultural landscape of Teldeniya and surrounding area due to the construction of the Victoria reservoir. To achieve this objective, a methodology was developed utilizing topographical maps and remotely sensed data. Various spatial and non spatial data belonging to two periods: 1954 represent pre and 2003 post construction periods of the reservoir. The topographical maps were georectified and specific area of interest was obtained. Data of 1954, 2003 obtained from topographic maps were analysed to assess the changes in the landscape. In addition, an IRS LISS III satellite imagery acquired in 1998 was also classified and analysed to support the study. Comparisons were made among the information extracted from 1954, 1998 and 2003 to assess the changes in the cultural landscape of the study area. The study revealed that the land use, road network and the hydrological network have changed considerably. There is a drastic change in the cultural landscape of the study area as a result of the construction of the Victoria reservoir. Some of the land used previously has been submerged with the construction of the dam. The dam project has brought new livelihood options to the people in the area. It is clear that these repercussions are partly due to the changes that have occurred with the development of technology and society with time. The significance of this is that drastic changes are not only on tangible physical changes but also intangible aspects such as culture and the society of this region.

Key words: Dams; Reservoirs; Spatial data; Victoria

DOI: 10.4038/tar.v22i2.2830

Tropical Agricultural Research Vol. 22 (2): 211-219 (2011)
How to Cite: Wijesundara, C. & Dayawansa, N., (2011). Construction of Large Dams and their Impact on Cultural Landscape: A Study in Victoria Reservoir and the Surrounding Area. Tropical Agricultural Research. 22(2), pp.211–219. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v22i2.2830
Published on 21 Feb 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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