Walawe Ganga River

Walawe Ganga (Sinhala: වලවේ ගඟ; Tamil: வளவை கங்கை) is considered one of the major rivers in Sri Lanka. It originates from the southern slopes of the central hills at an elevation of 2,300 m above mean sea level and flows from north to south with a total river length of 105 km (Ranjan et al., 2007; Talagala, 2003). It empties into the Indian Ocean at Ambalantota in Hambantota District.

In the 11th and 12th centuries or earlier, the southern part of Rohana had been divided into two major territorial divisions along the Vana-nadi, the present Walawe Ganga river (Nicholas, 1963).

River basin
Located in the dry zone of the country, the Walawe Ganga river basin is the third largest fluvial system in Sri Lanka and its river watershed encompasses an area of approximately 2442 km2 (Chandrajith et al., 2001; Ranjan et al., 2007). It receives rainfall from both monsoons ranging from 1000 mm to 2500 mm during an average year (Talagala, 2003). This basin is also one of the three main river basins (Menik Ganga and Kirindi Oya river basins are the other two) in the Ruhuna benchmark basins (Thilakarathne & Wijayaratna, 2018).

As proved by several archaeological evidence, the Walawe Ganga river basin has been used by ancient man for irrigation purposes (Dahdouh-Guebas et al., 2005).

The Samanalawewa and Udawalawe reservoirs have been built along the Walawe Ganga river (Nandalal & Sakthivadivel, 2002). The Samanalawewa was built mainly for hydropower generation while the Udawalawe reservoir supplies water for the Walawe Irrigation Scheme (Nandalal & Sakthivadivel, 2002).

See also

1) Chandrajith, R., Dissanayake, C.B. and Tobschall, H.J., 2001. Application of multi-element relationships in stream sediments to mineral exploration: a case study of Walawe Ganga Basin, Sri Lanka. Applied Geochemistry, 16(3), pp.339-350.
2) Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Hettiarachchi, S., Seen, D.L., Batelaan, O., Sooriyarachchi, S., Jayatissa, L.P. and Koedam, N., 2005. Transitions in ancient inland freshwater resource management in Sri Lanka affect biota and human populations in and around coastal lagoons. Current Biology, 15(6), pp.579-586.
3) Nandalal, K.D.W. and Sakthivadivel, R., 2002. Planning and management of a complex water resource system: case of Samanalawewa and Udawalawe reservoirs in the Walawe river, Sri Lanka. Agricultural water management57(3), pp.207-221.
4) 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.67.
5) Ranjan, P., Gupta, A.D., Kazama, S. and Sawamoto, M., 2007. Assessment of aquifer-land use composite vulnerability in Walawe River Basin, Sri Lanka. Asian Journal of Water, Environment and Pollution, 4(2), pp.1-10.
6) Talagala, G.R.P., 2003. Integrated water balance study for optimum utilization of water resources of Walawe Ganga. A thesis submitted to the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Moratuwa in partial fulfillment of the requirements for M.Sc. Degree in Water Resources Engineering and Management.pp.ii-iii.
7) Thilakarathne, J.A.S.I. and Wijayaratna, T.M.N., 2018, May. A Case Study on the Retention Tanks in the Walawe Ganga River Basin, Sri Lanka. In 2018 Moratuwa Engineering Research Conference (MERCon). IEEE. pp. 482-487.

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This page was last updated on 17 July 2022

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