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Ancient Irrigation

Ancient Irrigation Works: according to the history, the eras of Pollonnaruwa and Anuradhapura are important in irrigation developments. Therefore, we study these periods with more emphasis. Sri Lanka was divided into three parts well known as Ruhunu, Maya and Pihiti.  Most works were concentrated in the Pihiti Rata and there is historical evidence of irrigation activities even in the Maya Rata.

Anuradhapura Period: this period can be considered as most important era in the irrigation civilization in ancient Sri Lanka. Most of large irrigation networks were done during this period. It is rather clear If we study the irrigation works separately which belongs to this period. Mentioned names undoubtedly suggest links between Sri Lanka and the royal family of Kalinga of India.

Anuradhapura Complex: Another important era in the irrigation civilization was the Dathusena period in Anuradhapura era. King Dathusena ( 459 ‑ 477 ) ruled the country and during his reign he constructed the massive Kala Wewa reservoir and the 54 mile long Jaya Ganga or Yoda Ela which had supplied water to Tissa Wewa ( 307 BC ). Across Malwathu Oya a diversion structure was constructed to augment Nuwarawewa (1st BC) but later Nachchaduwa (866 ‑ 90 AD) was constructed across Malwathu Oya.

Polonnaruwa Period: King Parakrama ( 1153 ‑ 1186 ) was one of great rulers reign this country during which period quite lot of development work, administrative reforms and warfare were noticed in history. The gigantic reservoir complex of Parakrama Samudraya exhibits the talents and dedication of our ancestral engineers. He also restored the works like Giritale and Kallnga systems. There are evidences to show that his second Parakrama Samudraya was constructed in the Pas Thun Korale across Deduru Oya. It is with due respect noteworthy how he addressed his officers as a great leader.

Parakrama Samudraya consists three tanks and they are Thopa Wewa, Dumbutulu Wewa, and Erabadu Wewa. These three tanks were Inter connected to form the Samudraya and this is fed by the Angemedilla anicut with its Inlet canal of 24 miles long in addition to its own catchment. The total length of the bund Is 9 miles and height varies from 40‑90 ff. According to Brohier, this canal, which traverses about 24 miles, had irrigated large tracts land between Minneriya Oya Ambanganga feeding few tanks namely Nika Wewa and Anaulundawa Wawe.

Elehara Irrigation Complex: according to Mahawangsa the Elahera, King Washaba constructed Canal. This irrigation system includes a diversion structure constructed at Elahera across Amban Ganga (a tributary of Mahaweli

Ganga), which starts from the foothills of Matale. This huge canal conveyed water from this point to Minnerlya, Giritale, and Kantale reservoirs. On this long way from Elahera to Kantale, it had irrigated small tanks like lhakulu Wewa, Roet

Wewa, Matalu Wewa, and Konduru Wewa. The first stretch of this canal from Elahera to Diyabeduma (where it is bifurcated to Minnerlya and Giritale) Is 20.75 long. After 2.50 miles up the Nehinne Ela, it enters Giritale tank and the other branch, which falls into Talawatura Oya and it, enters Minneriya after 25 miles from Elahera. Giritale and the Kantale were constructed by King Agbo (604 AD) but it is evident that Parakrama Bahu I, has renovated the Giritale during   11

Pollonnaruwa era. Minneriya tank, which was built by King Mahasena (275‑301AD), is equipped with two spillways. The one on the south spills to Agalwan Oya and other releases water to Kantale tank through Gal Oya and it enter Kantale

Tank 3 miles further down. According to the history, Mahasena constructed Kaudulla and there is a legend to believe that Princess Bisobandara (sister of Mahasena) constructed it. This entire system is classic example of a

Tran’s basin irrigation systems combined with the cascade concept.

Minipe Yoda Ela: In addition to the above, the Trans basin canal from Minipe diversion carried water from Mahaweli Ganga to Amban Ganga. King Dasankeliya (459 AD) constructed this and it had irrigated the left bank of Mahawell. This gigantic work, which excites the wonder of the modern engineers, consists of a scheme, which turns the river at a bend where a large body of water enters the narrows canal formed by an island contiguous to the bank, partially closed by two rocks, which intercept the water on its return to the main stream. These rocks, when united by the masonry became a dam raising the waters in the natural channel to great height. Sir Henry Ward Basing on his observation on legend describes this canal could have used for irrigating as well as navigation. The length of this canal is 50miles and it merge with Amban Ganga below Angemedilla anicut. It is important to note that this canal had followed a trace, which has minimized deep cutting.

gation Works: according to the history, the eras of Pollonnaruwa and Anuradhapura are important in irrigation developments. Therefore, we study these periods with more emphasis. Sri Lanka was divided into three parts well known as Ruhunu, Maya and Pihiti.  Most works were concentrated in the Pihiti Rata and there is historical evidence of irrigation activities even in the Maya Rata.

Anuradhapura Period: this period can be considered as most important era in the irrigation civilization in ancient Sri Lanka. Most of large irrigation networks were done during this period. It is rather clear If we study the irrigation works separately which belongs to this period. Mentioned names undoubtedly suggest links between Sri Lanka and the royal family of Kalinga of India.

Anuradhapura Complex: Another important era in the irrigation civilization was the Dathusena period in Anuradhapura era. King Dathusena ( 459 ‑ 477 ) ruled the country and during his reign he constructed the massive Kala Wewa reservoir and the 54 mile long Jaya Ganga or Yoda Ela which had supplied water to Tissa Wewa ( 307 BC ). Across Malwathu Oya a diversion structure was constructed to augment Nuwarawewa (1st BC) but later Nachchaduwa (866 ‑ 90 AD) was constructed across Malwathu Oya.

Polonnaruwa Period: King Parakrama ( 1153 ‑ 1186 ) was one of great rulers reign this country during which period quite lot of development work, administrative reforms and warfare were noticed in history. The gigantic reservoir complex of Parakrama Samudraya exhibits the talents and dedication of our ancestral engineers. He also restored the works like Giritale and Kallnga systems. There are evidences to show that his second Parakrama Samudraya was constructed in the Pas Thun Korale across Deduru Oya. It is with due respect noteworthy how he addressed his officers as a great leader.

Parakrama Samudraya consists three tanks and they are Thopa Wewa, Dumbutulu Wewa, and Erabadu Wewa. These three tanks were Inter connected to form the Samudraya and this is fed by the Angemedilla anicut with its Inlet canal of 24 miles long in addition to its own catchment. The total length of the bund Is 9 miles and height varies from 40‑90 ff. According to Brohier, this canal, which traverses about 24 miles, had irrigated large tracts land between Minneriya Oya Ambanganga feeding few tanks namely Nika Wewa and Anaulundawa Wawe.

Elehara Irrigation Complex: according to Mahawangsa the Elahera, King Washaba constructed Canal. This irrigation system includes a diversion structure constructed at Elahera across Amban Ganga (a tributary of Mahaweli

Ganga), which starts from the foothills of Matale. This huge canal conveyed water from this point to Minnerlya, Giritale, and Kantale reservoirs. On this long way from Elahera to Kantale, it had irrigated small tanks like lhakulu Wewa, Roet

Wewa, Matalu Wewa, and Konduru Wewa. The first stretch of this canal from Elahera to Diyabeduma (where it is bifurcated to Minnerlya and Giritale) Is 20.75 long. After 2.50 miles up the Nehinne Ela, it enters Giritale tank and the other branch, which falls into Talawatura Oya and it, enters Minneriya after 25 miles from Elahera. Giritale and the Kantale were constructed by King Agbo (604 AD) but it is evident that Parakrama Bahu I, has renovated the Giritale during   11

Pollonnaruwa era. Minneriya tank, which was built by King Mahasena (275‑301AD), is equipped with two spillways. The one on the south spills to Agalwan Oya and other releases water to Kantale tank through Gal Oya and it enter Kantale

Tank 3 miles further down. According to the history, Mahasena constructed Kaudulla and there is a legend to believe that Princess Bisobandara (sister of Mahasena) constructed it. This entire system is classic example of a

Tran’s basin irrigation systems combined with the cascade concept.

Minipe Yoda Ela: In addition to the above, the Trans basin canal from Minipe diversion carried water from Mahaweli Ganga to Amban Ganga. King Dasankeliya (459 AD) constructed this and it had irrigated the left bank of Mahawell. This gigantic work, which excites the wonder of the modern engineers, consists of a scheme, which turns the river at a bend where a large body of water enters the narrows canal formed by an island contiguous to the bank, partially closed by two rocks, which intercept the water on its return to the main stream. These rocks, when united by the masonry became a dam raising the waters in the natural channel to great height. Sir Henry Ward Basing on his observation on legend describes this canal could have used for irrigating as well as navigation. The length of this canal is 50miles and it merge with Amban Ganga below Angemedilla anicut. It is important to note that this canal had followed a trace, which has minimized deep cutting.