Nachchaduwa Wewa

Nachchaduwa Wewa
Nachchaduwa Wewa (Sinhala: නාච්චාදූව වැව) is a reservoir situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, and is owned by the Department of Irrigation. The reservoir is considered as one of the earliest irrigation works in the country. 

According to tradition, Nachchaduwa Wewa was constructed by King Mahasena (277-304 A.D.) or Moggallana II [(531-551 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969; Fernando, 1980; Nicholas, 1963; Parker, 1909]. 

H. Parker in his book "Ancient Ceylon (1909)" mentions that the bricks which have been used to construct the tank sluice are in the same dimensions as those of some bricks used in the repairs of the high-level sluice at Nuwara Wewa (Parker, 1909). Therefore, he points out that the work at both reservoirs could be done at about the same time. He further mentions that the bricks used to build the upper part of the Bisokotuwa belong to a later period, probably a time a little earlier than the 12th century (Parker, 1909). Also, the large rectangular wedge holes found in some stones of the waste-weir, according to Parker, probably have come from the restoration work carried out by King Parakramabahu I [(1153-1186 A.D.) Parker, 1909]. Therefore, depending on these facts he suggests that the Nachchaduwa tank might be the Mahadaragalla tank made by King Mahasena (277-304 A.D.).
However, It is said that King Moggallana II (531-551 A.D.) built a tank named Pattapasana Wewa by damming the Malwathu Oya (Nicholas, 1963). The name Pattapasana was the name of an ancient sub-district and the name Patpahan-bim occurs in a medieval inscription in the Nachchaduwa area (Nicholas, 1963). Therefore, according to the view of Nicholas,the present tank at Nachchaduwa could be that ancient Pattapasana Wewa built by Moggallana II (Nicholas, 1963). King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) and King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) are said to have restored the Pattapasana Wewa (Nicholas, 1963).

The chronicle, Mahavamsa mentions a tank named Nandivapi with an account related to young Dhatusena II (Fernando, 1921). It is said that the most closer name which can be suggested for Nandivapi is the Nachchaduwa tank. In the Pali language, the meaning of both Nandi and Nachcha is nearly similar to each other: Nandi - 'pleasure' and Nachcha - 'dancing' (Fernando, 1921).

The bricks of several ruins located around the Nachchaduwa tank are said to be similar in size to some bricks found in ancient irrigation works such as Tissa Wewa, Nuwara Wewa, Sigiriya, etc. (Fernando, 1921). Therefore, it is strongly believed that this tank is also an early irrigation work in the country.

Recent renovations
The present tank was restored in 1906 and improved in 1917 (Arumugam, 1969). It was breached in 1957 but restored again in the next year, 1958 (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir is fed by the Malwathu Oya and the feeder canal from Kala Wewa. It has an irrigable area of 2833 ha and a catchment area of 598.74 square km (Dahanayake & Rajapakse, 2017).

1) Nachchaduwa Wewa by hassage is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.317.
2) Dahanayake, A.C. and Rajapakse, R.L.H.L., 2017. Application of a process-based, distributed, hydrological and material transport model to assess water resources and pollute transport in Malwathu oya basin, Sri Lanka. The 7th International Conference on Sustainable Built Environment, Earl’s Regency Hotel, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
3) Fernando, A.D.N., 1980. Major ancient irrigation works of Sri Lanka. Journal of the Sri Lanka Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 22, pp.1-24.
4) Fernando, W.M., 1921. Naccaduwa Tank. The Ceylon antiquary and literary register. Vol. VI: Part. IV. p.229.
5) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.168.
6) Parker, H., 1909. Ancient Ceylon: An account of the aborigines and of part of the early civilisation. Luzac & Co. London. pp.405-409.

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This page was last updated on 14 January 2023

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