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Notes on the Geography of Sri Lanka: Minipe

Kandy District has one major and recent irrigation project, the Minipe.  We'll take a look.

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Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 1

We've climbed east from Kandy to the summit overlooking the coastal plain to the east.  At the top is a cut-and-sew operation, one of hundreds scattered about the country.  This peppering of the countryside with clothing manufacturing may seem illogical, but actually it's smart.  The cost of trucking cloth and finished garments to Colombo is low, and out here there's plenty of labor, mostly young village women saving some cash before they get married.  They quit after a couple of years, but replacing them is easy--much easier than it would be in Colombo. 

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 2

Looking east from the summit over a curve of the Mahaweli. 

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 3

The river up close.  Several upstream dams regulate its flow, and a tunnel takes much of its water into another watershed, so this picture doesn't show the river as it was before the engineers arrived.>

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 4

Nearby there's a historic town, modernized.

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 5

Arterial traffic runs down the center of the street, on the right here, while local traffic takes one of the two shop-lined side roads.  Treed medians separate the arterial from the local traffic.

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 6

The Mahayangana supermarket.

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 7

Along the river, there's a wide swath of land in paddy cultivation; here, a threshing floor is circled by straw.

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 8

We're heading to the diversion wier.

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 9

Every now and then, the road crosses the canal, which is very substantial.

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 10

At the very end of the canal you can see the headgates letting water into the canal.  As the sign suggests, this was an ancient project that the British, after a century's thought, rebuilt.  D.S. Senanayaka went on to become the country's first president.

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 11

You can walk along the wall here toward the headgate.

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 12

This is the lower of two wiers.

Sri Lanka: Minipe picture 13

And this is the higher, ponding water so it can enter the canal.

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