Sunday, 3 February 2019

St. Clair's Falls

St. Clair's Falls
St. Clair's Falls is a waterfall cascading in Talawakele in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. The fall is also called by some as the small Niagara of Sri Lanka (Abeywardana, 2004) since it is considered as the widest waterfall in the country. The fall can be seen from the Hatton-Talawakele Highway near the 84 km post (Abeywardhana, 2004).

The fall
The fall originates from Kotmale Oya, a tributary of Mahaweli Ganga, and occurs 1,076.92 meters above the sea level (Abeywardhana, 2004). It consists of two falls called greater and lesser St. Clair's Falls and cascade 80 m and 50 m respectively (Briggs, 2018). It forms three tiers and the cascading water is filled into a large pond (Abeywardhana, 2004).

Upper Kotamale Hydropower Project
St. Clair's Falls is one of the waterfalls affected by the Upper Kotamale Hydropower Project [(UKHP) Ranawake, 2011]. The project is located in the southern central mountains of Sri Lanka in the Kotmale Oya basin (Nandalal, 2007).

From the initial project proposal, it was identified that six aesthetically important waterfalls were to be dried up due to the project (Nandalal, 2007).  The significant reduction of water flow over Saint Clair waterfall was among the key issues to be considered. In 2003, the Sri Lankan Government published a Gazette notification regulating the release of water from the future reservoir, in order to preserve and maintain the aesthetic value of the waterfall (Ranawake, 2011). According to the Gazette, it was proposed to release 47,250 cubic meters of water over the falls for 10 hours and 30 minutes daily, between sunrise and sunset (Gazette Extraordinary, 2003).

In 2005, the government decided to proceed the project with a modified plan which only affects St. Clair's waterfall (Nandalal, 2007). At the construction phase, a special valve has been proposed to install near the bottom outlet of the dam in order to meet the conditions specified for the waterfall in the Gazette (Ranawake, 2011).

St. Clair's Falls St. Clair's Falls
1) StClairsFalls-Srilanka-April2011 by Rehman is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
2) St.ClairsFalls-Srilanka by Chamal N is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
3) St. Clair Falls - panoramio by Alexey Komarov is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

1) Abeywardhana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.  p.241.
2) Briggs, P., 2018. Sri Lanka. Bradt Travel Guides. ISBN: 9781784770570. p.413.
3) Nandalal, H.K., 2007. Importance of Public Participation in Project Implementation: Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project in Sri Lanka. International Conference on Small Hydropower-Hydro Sri Lanka. pp.1-7.
4) Ranawake, R.A.L., 2011. Waterfall maintenance of the upper Kotmale hydropower project. University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.
5) Gazette Extraordinary of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1283/19. 10 April 2003. p.4A.

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This page was last updated on 14 February 2022
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