Author(s): Dharmasiri De Alwis
Keywords: Natural resources development; Human and wildlife habitats
Abstract: The reservoirs provide irrigation, drinking water, recreation, attract tourism, facilitate aqua-culture and fisheries, and can enhance environmental conditions. Thus, dams and reservoirs have become an integral part of our man-made infrastructure. In the transformation of the natural world into a human environment, the need to develop natural resources means that it cannot be preserved completely unchanged. However, we must ensure that the ecosystem directly affected by a dam and a reservoir are also benefited from it. The Mahaweli Ganga Development Scheme, which was implemented in the year 1970 was accelerated in the year 1977 with a view to bringing in major socio-economics benefit to the country. In the process, several adverse as well as beneficial impacts on both the natural and human environments have been experienced. Therefore, particular emphasis has been received for the environmental planning aspect, in order to promote effective management of the environmental resources in the area concerned. Of the four project areas (Systems A, B, C and D) identified for integrated development, only System-B and System-C got underway during the period 1979 to to-date. However, adequate compensation has been provided with infrastructure and water in the transformation of wildlife habitats into human habitats and vice-versa.