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Diyawanna Lake

Diyawanna Lake
Diyawanna Oya Wetland, also known as Diyawanna Lake (දියවන්නා ඔය), is an urban wetland located about 11 km away from Colombo in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, the administrative capital of Sri Lanka. It is one of the most important marshlands that contribute towards water retention and flood protection in the Colombo Metropolitan Region (Thibbotuwawa et al., 2010). The Parliament of Sri Lanka is also located on a small island in Diyawanna Oya within this wetland system.

Wetlands are simply habitats with the permanent or temporary accumulation of water with associated floral and faunal communities (Thibbotuwawa et al., 2010). The Diyawanna Oya Wetlands are inland freshwater marshes and one of the three interconnected marshes which form the Colombo Flood Detention Areas [(400 ha) IUCN & CEA, 2006]. The three marshes are Kollonnawa marsh (214.3 ha), Kotte marsh (97.4 ha) and Heen marsh [(87.7 ha) IUCN & CEA, 2006]. 

The Diyawanna Oya and surrounding marshes were important natural defensive barriers for the ancient Kotte Kingdom and are therefore of historical importance, and the area has been described in ancient poetry (IUCN & CEA, 2006). The wetland area was subjected to modernization with the construction of the new parliamentary complex in 1979 and the subsequent declaration of Sri Jayawardanepura Kotte as the administrative capital of the country in 1980 (Ruzaik, 2021).

The Diyawanna wetland comprises vast marshlands, wooded areas and the flowing Diyawanna Oya and spreads over Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte and Kaduwela Municipal Council administrative boundaries (Ruzaik, 2021; Thibbotuwawa et al., 2010). The marshlands are connected to Diyawanna Lake, which is part of the Diyawanna Oya stream and is drained by Kirulapone Canal via. Dehiwala and Wellawatta Canal to the sea (Ruzaik, 2021). The wetland area receives an average annual rainfall of 2,427.8 mm and a temperature ranges between 31 °C and 24 °C (Ruzaik, 2021).

The wetland serves as a major recreational ground for exercise, sports, bathing and family outings for the surrounding dwellers as well as visitors from outside (Marawila & Thibbotuwawa, 2010). The inhabitants in surrounding areas use the wetland as a source of income from fishing, cattle grazing, collecting reeds, rushes and fuel wood (Marawila & Thibbotuwawa, 2010; Thibbotuwawa et al., 2010). It also provides important hydrological services and it is a rich habitat of endogenous fauna and flora (Thibbotuwawa et al., 2010). As a result, the Department of Wildlife has declared Diyawanna Oya as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1984 in terms of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance [(section No 1 of 1994,)  Ruzaik, 2021].

Travel tips
Things to do at Diyawanna Lake;
Diyawanna Lake is surrounded by an urban environment and therefore, the site is always full of locals. Recreational activities such as boat riding are available at the community parks established around the lake. Small shopping and eating huts, playgrounds, open theatres, and aquariums as well as urban wetland parks provide tourists to experience the local culture, cuisine and wildlife.

1) IUCN & CEA, 2006. National Wetland Directory of Sri Lanka. IUCN Sri Lanka and the Central Environmental Authority. Colombo, Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-8177-54-7. pp.61-63.
2) Marawila, T.D. and Thibbotuwawa, M., 2010. To develop or to conserve? The case of the Diyawanna Oya Wetlands in Sri Lanka. SANDEE Working Paper No. 52-10. pp.1-37.
3) Ruzaik, F., 2021. Amenities for Encouraging Ecotourism in Diyawanna Area. Excellent publication. pp.99-118.
4) Thibbotuwawa, M., Marawila, T.D. and Samaratunga, P., 2010. Conservation Vs. Conversion: Examining the Case of the Diyawanna Oya Wetland Area in Sri Lanka. Working Paper Series No. 15. Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka. pp.1-22.

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This page was last updated on 21 April 2023

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