This project aimed to assess the transformation of central and decentral structures to govern tank-cascade systems in central Sri Lanka since the antique Anuradhapura Kingdom as a complementary case study to the project of the research group (A-3) Water Management.


The long lasting history of water harvesting and water management in antique and historical Sri Lanka with its central-decentral management structures survived – with modifications – until present.

This project analysed historical sources as available from literature retrospective the Mahavasma to outline the elements and different levels of the central governance of ancient large tanks in Sri Lanka, the decentral governance of the village-tank-cascade systems and the interaction of both systems. The outcome of this analysis served as a complementary study to the project: (A-3-2) Water management in the western Mediterranean region of the of the Topoi research group (A-3) Water Management.

Comparing the results of the assessments of long durée water governance and its transformation from Antiquity into modern times of two spatially separated regions

  1. gave insights into the social resilience due to political and environmental changes,
  2. allowed to analyse long durée system changes from (pre)history to the present,
  3. supported an extension of the Topoi 2 focus from the Mediterranean into other regions.



(A-3) Water Management
(A-3-2) Water management in the western Mediterranean region