Sunday, 26 July 2020

Kala Wewa

Kala Wewa
Kala Wewa (Sinhala: කලා වැව) is a twin reservoir complex (Kala-Balalu Wewa) situated in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

The Kala Vapi or the Kala Wewa was constructed during the reign of King Dhatusena [(459-477 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969; Nicholas, 1963]. It is said that Dhatusena built Kala Wewa to encompass Balalu Wewa which was built by King Kutakannatissa [(42-20 B.C.) Fernando, 1980]. According to historical sources, King Mahinda II (777-797 A.D.) improved and strengthened the work (Arumugam, 1969).

The present reservoir was restored in 1887 and in 1939, it was enlarged by 6 ft. (Arumugam, 1969). The breaches in 1957 were repaired in 1958 and the twin reservoirs Kala Wewa and Balalu Wewa were merged together to form one large reservoir (Arumugam, 1969). In 2015, the reservoir was rehabilitated by the Dam Safety & Water Resources Planning Project.

The reservoir has been constructed across the Kala Oya and the Jaya Ganga. It has a capacity of 100,000 Ac. ft. (123 million cubic meters) and has facilitated by a stone-made spillway and three main sluices (Yodha Ela, Goda Ela, and Balalu-wewa). The water of the reservoir brings to the Tissa Wewa reservoir in Anuradhapura by an ancient 54 miles (86.90 km) long canal called Jaya Ganga (present Yodha Ela) Arumugam, 1969; Nicholas, 1963]. This canal was also built by Dhatusena and it is considered a unique creation of ancient engineers (Fernando, 1980). The gradient in the first 20 miles of this canal is said to be only half a foot to the mile (Fernando, 1980).

The Kala Oya valley has been dammed by a 5 miles (8.04 km) long earthen embankment of about 60 ft. high (Arumugam, 1969). 

A view of Balalu Wewa .
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. pp.17,342-343.
2) 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.
3) 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.166.

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This page was last updated on 14 January 2023


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