2015 – Ailments of the first concrete dam in Sri Lanka and the remedial works

Susantha Mediwaka, Nihal Vitharana, Badra Kamaladasa

Nalanda dam is the oldest concrete gravity dam on the Island built in the 1950s by the Ceylon Department of Irrigation. The dam was built in 9 monoliths having a dam crest length of approximately 125m and a maximum height of about 36m. The spillway consists of: (1) a low-level uncontrolled ogee-crested horse-shoe section with a crest length of 46m, and (b) a high-level broad crested weir with a crest length of 43m.
It was designed and constructed according to the then standard practices adopted throughout the world. Over the years, Nalanda dam has been showing signs of deterioration which is suspected to be Alkali-Aggregate Reaction (AAR). The dam was also shown to be deficient with respect to the stability levels required by modern standards. Under a program of dam safety improvement of the dams throughout Sri Lanka, it was decided to stabilise Nalanda dam as the first step in addressing a series of issues affecting the dam.
This paper presents the construction history, current issues, design assumptions and salient construction features in the upgrading of the dam to modern dam safety requirements.
Keywords: Concrete dams, dams Sri Lanka, concrete buttressing, upgrade, horse-shoe spillway

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