Wewa Program Sponsor

Wilde Ganzen


Forests for People


Sri Lanka

Wewa Restoration Program

Restoration of small wewas to collect rain water from seasonal streams during the monsoon for use in the dry season began in 1990 with the help of Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. Through co-operation for development FfP has restored three wewas. Wewa restoration program 2005 is sponsored by Wilde Ganzen , NCDO and Berkel and Rodenrijs and Asuaid with technical support from the Delft University the Netherlands. At present the Watagala wewa is being restored with sponsorship from Wilde Ganzen NL and Berkel and Rodenrijs NL.

In South East Sri Lanka rainfall occurs erratically, but mainly in two periods during the year. Historically there were many small wewas or reservoirs that held water even in the smallest stream. This was a response by the kings to the irregular rainfall which limits crop productivity in the dry zone. This system of soil and water conservation developed about 500AD and was widely used until recent times. As well as used for irrigation, the wewa raised ground water levels so that the village wells had water for household use, for farming, animal husbandry and for fish.

"A wewa means a village and a village means a wewa."
The wewa provides all the material needs of village life.
When the wewa breaches the village migrates"

New FfP - Google Maps! A study of wews in the Tanamalwila area

The three components of an wewa are the bund, sluice and spill. The bund holds the water back and is made of earth. Through a outlet pipe of the sluice water is conveyed to the irrigation channel for crop cultivation. A spill is to discharge flood water. Usually another lower wewa can collect this overflow water.

The wewa program has helped increase the storage capacity of the wewas and thus delay the point of drying up. While used for irrigation the wewa also raised ground water tables


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