The song of the waterfall
By Sachitra Mahendra
The Lanka Council of Waterfalls (LCWF), a non-profit scientific organization is focused on the socio-cultural protection of the country's wealth of waterfalls. They do this by making both Sri Lankans and foreigners aware of this great asset, says LCWF President Anura Nelugalla, Chief Engineer, Velioya project.

They have several study areas, among them the life-style of the people who live near the waterfalls, the flora and fauna, the economic benefits, related myths and legends and the specific sounds of water.

With measurements done by the Survey Department, the LCWF has been instrumental in getting three Sri Lankan waterfalls listed in the 100 highest waterfalls of the world. The three are Bambarakanda Falls, 241 metres high, placed 48th, Kurundu Falls, 189 metres high, placed 58th and Diyaluma Falls, 171 metres high, placed 62nd.

The LCWF plans to draw international attention to the country's waterfalls by conducting an international meeting on waterfalls by 2005. Recently launched is a diploma course with lecturers comprising university dons and professionals of the field like J.B. Disanayaka, emeritus Professor of Sinhala and Dharmasiri Gamage, a veteran environmental journalist. The syllabus includes an introduction to water, water management, definition of water, the formation of a waterfall, geological background, measuring methods, conservation, bio-diversity and economic benefits. The four-month diploma is part time, held on weekends and is open to anyone interested in the field.

The LCWF includes a study centre as well as an information centre. Developed countries utilize waterfalls to generate hydropower without affecting their natural state. Sri Lanka however, being a developing country, faces huge challenges in operating such projects with conservationists objecting on several grounds.

“We have gathered that the occasional awareness programmes on the value of waterfalls do not make any sense to poverty stricken people. We need to teach them the value of waterfalls in a practical way. When the number of tourists grows, they automatically start to sense the growth of their economic state as well,” says Niroshana Peiris, LCWF coordinator. The LCWF is planning to activate eco-tourism projects, he added.

The LCWF is also searching for waterfall related songs and have their own theme song written by Dharmasiri Gamage with music directed by Rohana Weerasinghe.

Those interested in the study of waterfalls should log on to their website, or email them at Their postal address is 7B Albert Perera Mw, Nugegoda.

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