Dujiangyan Irrigation System / 都江堰水利工程

The next stop on our trip was another major river-taming project at
Dujiangyan in Sichuan. Yes, Sichuan is the land of killer red peppers.
In fact, some of the nearby provinces, including Hubei, where the Three
Gorges Dam is located, also host the killer red pepers. My father met
those his first night in China.

Dujiangyan was a system of weirs built on the Min river 2300 years ago.
Like many rivers in China, the Min was subject to alternating floods and
droughts. With this system of weirs, the flow of the river was divided,
and after blasting through a small mountain (before the invention of gun
powder) the overflow of the river was used to irrigate the Sichuan
plains. They even buried iron ‘logs’ in the irrigation channel so that
people cleaning it out would know how deep to dig in order to maintain
the correct proportion of flow in each part of the diversion. There
haven’t been any floods on the Min river since, and the system is still
in use today.

I was here last year and was really impressed by this ancient feat of
engineering. I’m impressed again.



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