List of rivers of Sri Lanka

Last updated

The following table lists most rivers of Sri Lanka. Since Sri Lanka is a trilingual country, some rivers may have a Sinhala name (i.e. Kalu Ganga), while other have an English name (i.e. Kelani River). In the Sinhala language, Ganga (ගඟ) translates to "river", where as Oya (ඔය) translates to "smaller river".[ citation needed ] At 335 km (208 mi), the Mahaweli River is the longest river in the island, and has drainage basin covering more than one-fifth of the island.


List of major rivers (over 100km in length)

NameLengthSourceDrainageImage Location of mouth Ref
Mahaweli River 335 km (208 mi) Horton Plains Trincomalee Mahaweli River.JPG 08°27′34″N81°13′46″E / 8.45944°N 81.22944°E / 8.45944; 81.22944 (Mahaweli River) [1]
Malvathu River 164 km (102 mi) Inamaluwa Mountains Vankalai Malwatu River in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.jpg 08°48′08″N79°55′40″E / 8.80222°N 79.92778°E / 8.80222; 79.92778 (Malvathu River)  
Kala Oya 148 km (92 mi) Omaragolla Mountains Kalpitiya North Kala Oya.jpg 08°17′41″N79°50′23″E / 8.29472°N 79.83972°E / 8.29472; 79.83972 (Kala Oya)  
Kelani River 145 km (90 mi) Baththulu Oya Colombo Kelani Ganga - panoramio (5).jpg 06°58′44″N79°52′12″E / 6.97889°N 79.87000°E / 6.97889; 79.87000 (Kelani River) [1]
Yan Oya 142 km (88 mi) Sigiriya Pulmoddai 08°55′04″N81°00′58″E / 8.91778°N 81.01611°E / 8.91778; 81.01611 (Yan Oya)  
Deduru Oya 142 km (88 mi) Gommuna Mountains Chilaw 07°36′50″N79°48′12″E / 7.61389°N 79.80333°E / 7.61389; 79.80333 (Deduru Oya)  
Walawe River 138 km (86 mi) Belihul Oya Ambalantota 06°06′19″N81°00′57″E / 6.10528°N 81.01583°E / 6.10528; 81.01583 (Walawe River) [1]
Maduru Oya 135 km (84 mi) Akurugala Mountains Kalkudah 07°56′24″N81°33′05″E / 7.94000°N 81.55139°E / 7.94000; 81.55139 (Maduru Oya)  
Maha Oya 134 km (83 mi) Rakshawa Mountains Kochchikade Maha Oya,Crossing Kotadeniyawa Road,Srilanka.jpg 07°16′21″N79°50′34″E / 7.27250°N 79.84278°E / 7.27250; 79.84278 (Maha Oya)  
Kalu Ganga 129 km (80 mi) Seetha Gangula Kalutara Kalu River 2.jpg 06°34′10″N79°57′44″E / 6.56944°N 79.96222°E / 6.56944; 79.96222 (Kalu Ganga)  
Kirindi Oya 117 km (73 mi) Namunukula Bundala 06°11′39″N81°17′34″E / 6.19417°N 81.29278°E / 6.19417; 81.29278 (Kirindi Oya)  
Kumbukkan Oya 116 km (72 mi) Lunugala Kumana 06°48′36″N81°49′25″E / 6.81000°N 81.82361°E / 6.81000; 81.82361 (Kumbukkan Oya)  
Menik Ganga 114 km (71 mi) Namunukula Yala Menik River, Katharagama, Sri Lanka.jpg 06°21′49″N81°31′45″E / 6.36361°N 81.52917°E / 6.36361; 81.52917 (Menik Ganga)  
Gin Ganga 113 km (70 mi) Kabaragala Mountains Gintota 06°03′47″N80°10′27″E / 6.06306°N 80.17417°E / 6.06306; 80.17417 (Menik Ganga)  
Mi Oya 109 km (68 mi) Kuda Madagala Mountains Puttalam 08°05′44″N79°48′37″E / 8.09556°N 79.81028°E / 8.09556; 79.81028 (Mi Oya)  
Gal Oya 108 km (67 mi) Hewa Eliya Mountains Oluvil 07°18′01″N81°51′54″E / 7.30028°N 81.86500°E / 7.30028; 81.86500 (Gal Oya)  

List of minor rivers (up to 100km in length)

NameLengthSourceDrainage Location of mouth Ref
Attanagalu Oya 76 km (47 mi) Kegalle District Negombo Lagoon
Nilwala Ganga 72 km (45 mi) Rakwana Mountains Indian Ocean 5°57′N 80°32′E
Kanakarayan Aru 70 km (43 mi) Semamadu Kulam Chundikkulam Lagoon   
Kotmale River 70 km (43 mi) Horton Plains National Park Mahaweli River   
Parangi Aru 60 km (37 mi) Vavuniya District Palk Strait   
Kehelgamu Oya 50 km (31 mi) Horton Plains Kelani River   
Pali Aru 50 km (31 mi) Puliyankulam Palk Strait   
Maskeliya Oya 40 km (25 mi) Peak Wilderness Sanctuary Kelani River   
Nay Aru 40 km (25 mi) Vavuniya District Palk Strait   
Per Aru 32 km (20 mi) Vavuniya District Nanthi Lagoon   
Mandekal Aru 30 km (19 mi) Mullaitivu District Palk Strait   
Nanu Oya 27 km (17 mi) Pidurutalagala Kotmale River   
Pallavarayankaddu Aru 27 km (17 mi) Mullaitivu District Palk Strait   
Akkarayan Aru 25 km (16 mi) Mullaitivu District Jaffna Lagoon   
Netheli Aru 24 km (15 mi) Mullaitivu District Chundikkulam Lagoon   
Theravil Aru 23 km (14 mi) Mullaitivu District Chundikkulam Lagoon   
Nay Aru 20 km (12 mi) Mullaitivu District Nai Aru Lagoon   
Piramenthal Aru 20 km (12 mi) Mullaitivu District Chundikkulam Lagoon   
Kodalikkallu Aru 19 km (12 mi) Mullaitivu District Nanthi Lagoon   
Valukkai Aru 16 km (10 mi) Jaffna District Jaffna Lagoon   
Kukule River 06°39′10″N80°05′42″E / 6.65278°N 80.09500°E / 6.65278; 80.09500 (Kukule River)  
Madu Ganga   
Mavil Aru   
Pusweli Oya   
Verugal Aru   

Malala oya - Hambanthota District karanda Oya - Potuvil Ampara District Heda Oya - Arugambay(Arunagamthota) , Ampare District wil oya - Ampara District {Expand list|date=September 2021}}

See also

Related Research Articles

Sri Lankan state-sponsored colonization schemes is the government program of settling mostly farmers from the densely populated wet zone in the sparsely populated areas of the dry zone in the North Central Province, Southern Province, Uva Province, Sabaragamuwa Province, Northern Province and the Eastern Province regions near tanks and reservoirs being built in major irrigation and hydro-power programs such as the Mahaweli project to create farming and fishing communities. This has taken place since the 1950s.

Mahaweli River

The Mahaweli River, is a 335 km (208 mi) long river, ranking as the longest river in Sri Lanka. It has a drainage basin of 10,448 km2 (4,034 sq mi), the largest in the country, which covers almost one-fifth of the total area of the island. The real beginning of Mahaweli Ganga starts at Polwathura(at Mahawila area), a remote village of Nuwara-Eliya District in bank Nawalapitiya of Kandy District by further joining of Hatton Oya and Kotmale Oya. The river reaches the Bay of Bengal on the southwestern side of Trincomalee Bay. The bay includes the first of a number submarine canyons, making Trincomalee one of the finest deep-sea harbors in the world.

Kotmale Oya

The Kotmale River is the longest tributary of Mahaweli River. The river begins as the Agra Oya, in the Horton Plains. The Central Plains have an annual rainfall of between 125 and 200 inches a year. The river is approximately 70 km (43 mi) long and drains a basin of about 58,534 ha. The river flows through a traditional area of ancient villages and tea plantations. King Dutugemunu spent his youth here. The Kotmale Oya flows into the Mahaweli shortly at Pallegama. Tributaries of the Kotmale Oya include the Nanu Oya, the Pundalu Oya, the Puna Oya, and the Dambagastalawa Oya.

Kelani River

The Kelani River is a 145-kilometre-long (90 mi) river in Sri Lanka. Ranking as the fourth-longest river in the country, it stretches from the Sri Pada Mountain Range to Colombo. It flows through or borders the Sri Lankan districts of Nuwara Eliya, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Gampaha and Colombo. The Kelani River also flows through the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, and provides 80% of its drinking water.

St. Clairs Falls

St. Clair's Falls is one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka and is commonly known as the "Little Niagara of Sri Lanka". It is one of six waterfalls affected by the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project.

Samanala Dam Dam in Balangoda

The Samanala Dam is a dam primarily used for hydroelectric power generation in Sri Lanka. Commissioned in 1992, the Samanalawewa Project is the third-largest hydroelectric scheme in the country, producing 405 GWh of energy annually. It was built with financial support from Japan and the United Kingdom. It is notable for a large leak on its right bank. Power production continues as planned despite the leakage, and the water from the leak now provides two thirds of the water issued by the reservoir for agriculture in downstream areas.

Kalu Ganga

Kalu Ganga is a river in Sri Lanka. Measuring 129 km (80 mi) in length, the river originates from Sri Padhaya and reach the sea at Kalutara. The Black River flows through the Ratnapura and the Kalutara District and pass the city Ratnapura. The mountainous forests in the Central Province and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve are the main sources of water for the river.


Rajarata [rā dja ra tə] was one of three historical regions of the island of Sri Lanka for about 1,700 years from the 6th century BCE to the early 13th century CE. Several ancient cities, including Tambapanni, Upatissa Nuwara, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, were established as capitals within the area by successive rulers. Rajarata was under the direct administration of the King. Two other areas, Malayarata and Ruhunurata, were ruled by the king's brothers "Mapa" and "Epa". The Magha invasion in the 13th century brought about the end of the Rajarata kingdom.

Moragahakanda Dam Dam in Elahera, North Central Province

The Moragahakanda Dam, officially as Kulasinghe Reservoir, is a large gravity dam, and the main component of the larger and more complex Moragahakanda — Kalu Ganga Project, across the Amban River at Elahera, in the Matale District of Sri Lanka. Construction began on 25 January 2007 and was completed in 2018. The maiden waters of the dam was released in January 2017. Morgahakanda/Kaluganga project is the last of the Great Mahaveli project

Kalu Ganga Dam Dam in Pallegama

The Kalu Ganga Dam is a large gravity dam, and the second vital component of the larger and more complex Moragahakanda — Kalu Ganga Project, currently under construction across the Kalu Ganga at Pallegama, in the Matale District of Sri Lanka. This Kalu Ganga is a tributary of Amban Ganga which is itself a tributary of the Mahaweli River the longest river in Sri Lanka. This shall not be confused with Kalu Ganga. Construction of the project was launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 25 January 2007. The maiden waters of the dam was released in July 2018.

Norton Dam Dam in Norton Bridge,Central Province

The Norton Dam is a gravity dam built across the Kehelgamu Oya, which is a major tributary to the Kelani River. The dam is built at Norton Bridge, in the Central Province of Sri Lanka.

Kehelgamu Oya

The Kehelgamu Oya is a major upstream tributary of the Kelani River. The tributary measures 50 km (31 mi) in length, originating from the hills of the Horton Plains National Park, before passing through the Castlereigh Reservoir. Kehelgamu Oya converges with the Maskeliya Oya at Kalugala, forming the 100 km (62 mi) long Kelani River. The river is heavily used for hydroelectric power generation.

Maskeliya Oya

The Maskeliya Oya is a major upstream tributary of the Kelani River. The tributary measures approximately 40 km (25 mi) in length, originating from the hills of the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, before passing through the Maskeliya Reservoir. Maskeliya Oya converges with the Kehelgamu Oya at Kalugala, forming the 100 km (62 mi) long Kelani River. The river is heavily used for hydroelectric power generation.

Bakamuna Village in North Central Province, Sri Lanka

Bakamuna is a village town in Sri Lanka. It is located within North Central Province.

Deduru Oya Dam Dam in Wariyapola

The Deduru Oya Dam is an embankment dam built across the Deduru River in Kurunegala District of Sri Lanka. Built in 2014, the primary purpose of the dam is to retain approximately a billion cubic metres of water for irrigation purposes, which would otherwise flow out to sea. Site studies of the dam began in 2006 and construction started in 2008. It was ceremonially completed in 2014, with the presence of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rambakan Oya Dam Dam in Maha Oya

The Rambakan Oya Dam is an embankment dam in Maha Oya, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. The reservoir was designed and constructed by the Sri Lanka Mahaveli Authority and currently functions under the direction of the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management. It have been created by building an Earthen dam of which is about 1225m in length across the river of Mundeni Aru.

Hamilton Canal

The Hamilton Canal is a 14.5 km (9.0 mi) canal connecting Puttalam to Colombo, passing through Negombo in Sri Lanka. The canal was constructed by the British in 1802 and completed in 1804. It was designed to drain salt water out of the Muthurajawela wetlands. The canal was named after Gavin Hamilton, the Government Agent of Revenue and Commerce.

Nanu Oya

Nanu Oya is a 27 km (17 mi) long stream in the Central Province of Sri Lanka It originates from Pidurutalagala at an elevation of over 2,000 m (6,562 ft) and drains into the Kotmale Oya at an elevation of approximately 1,200 m (3,937 ft). The Kotmale Oya is a tributary of the Mahaweli River, the longest river in Sri Lanka, which finally discharges at Trincomalee after a combined distance of nearly 350 km (217 mi). The river was dammed in 1873 to create the popular Lake Gregory in Nuwara Eliya. The Nanu Oya discharges into the Kotmale Oya 2.5 km (1.6 mi) upstream of the Upper Kotmale Dam.


  1. 1 2 3 "Horton Plains National Park". International Water Management Institute. Archived from the original on August 5, 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2009.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)