The British Dam Society
Caring for dams, people and the environment

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Temple in Sri Lanka

This old temple in Sri Lanka was innundated
when a reservoir was created

Throughout history, people have settled and built their communities in river valleys. This means that many of the world's archaeological sites and historical buildings and monuments can be found in these areas. Often they include sacred buildings such as churches and temples and their burial sites, which can be of great value to the local inhabitants. Such heritage can be lost forever when a valley is inundated with water to create a reservoir.

In the past, there have been dam projects where no efforts have been made to explore or save any of the local heritages. More recently, special measures have been taken on some projects. They have included:

  • Intensive archaeological investigations at sites believed to have been inhabited by ancient civilisations, before dam construction proceeds.
  • Relocation of burial sites.
  • Redesign of dams, to minimise the losses.
  • The dismantling, relocation and re-erection of ancient monuments.