Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰


Chinese Name: 都江堰

English Name: Dujiangyan irrigation system, Dujiangyan

Location: Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province

Type: National Parks, Bodies of Water, Historic Sites

Rating Level: AAAAA (5A)

Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰
Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰

Brief Introduction

Dujiangyan irrigation system都江堰 is located in the west of Chengdu, Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province, and in the west of Chengdu Plain of Minjiang River, was built in about 256BC~251BC. It is a large-scale water conservancy project which was constructed under the direction of Libing and his son. Since its establishment was over 2200 years, Dujiangyan Irrigation System has played an important role in flood control and irrigation to Chengdu Plain, and it is the exact reason why Chengdu has become the “Land of Abundance” today.

At present, the Dujiangyan irrigation system benefits over 30 counties and cities, covering an area of one thousand hectares. So far in the world, it is the oldest, the only remaining, still in use, with no dam diversion as the characteristics of the grand water conservancy project, embodies diligence, courage, wisdom of the labouring people of ancient China.

Dujiangyan irrigation system is a World Cultural Heritage site (listed in the “World Cultural Heritage” list by UNESCO in 2000), a World Irrigation Engineering Heritage site, a national key cultural relics protection unit, a national scenic spot and a national AAAAA tourist attraction.

Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰
Jade Lake 翠月湖

Dujiangyan irrigation system consists of three important parts, namely Yuzui分水鱼嘴, Feishayan飞沙堰 and Baopingkou宝瓶口 scientifically designed to automatically control the water flow of the rivers from the mountains to the plains throughout the year.

Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰
Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰

Dujiangyan irrigation system belongs to the sub-tropical monsoon humid climate zone, with an average annual temperature of 15.2℃, annual precipitation of nearly 1200 mm, and an average annual frost-free period of 280 days. Here four seasons are distinctive, summer without heat, the hottest in July and August with the average temperature is about 24 ℃, the average highest temperature 28 ℃. No cold winter, the coldest in January, the average temperature of 4.6 ℃, the average minimum temperature at about 1 ℃.

After the system was built, there were no more floods. Irrigation has made Sichuan the most productive agricultural region in China. The construction of the project has also brought a laid-back attitude to the local people. It leaves them with plenty of free time by eliminating disasters and ensuring regular and plentiful harvests.

What is worth to visit and see?

Main attractions

Dujiangyan irrigation system makes full use of local geographical conditions of high northwest and low southeast, according to the special terrain of mountain and rivers and according to water vein and water potential to draw water without dam, to irrigate by gravity. The Irrigation System consists of three main constructions that work in harmony with one another to ensure against flooding and keep the fields well supplied with water.

The embankment, water diversion, flood discharge, desilting, current control is mutual independent and became a system to ensure the social comprehensive benefits of water flood control, irrigation, water transportation bring into full play. What is great is that it is enduring for more than 2250 years, and it produces more and more benefits. After the completion of Dujiangyan Irrigation System, the Chengdu plain became a vast expanse of fertile land.

The Yuzui or Fish Mouth Levee, named for its conical head that is said to resemble the mouth of a fish, is the key part of the construction. Its main function is to divide the turbulent Minjiang River into two rivers, the west is called the Outer River, commonly known as “Jinma River”, is the positive flow of the Minjiang River, mainly used for flood discharge. East edge along the foot of the mountain called Inner River, is an artificial diversion channel, mainly for irrigation.

Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰
Yuzui 鱼嘴

The Feishayan or Flying Sand Weir has a 200-meter-wide opening that connects the inner and outer streams. The main function of the sand flying weir is that when the water volume of the inner river exceeds the upper limit of the bottle mouth, the excess water will overflow from the sand flying weir. In the event of extreme floods, it will also burst its banks, allowing a large amount of water to return to the current of the Minjiang River.

Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰
Feishayan 飞沙堰

The Baopingkou or Bottle-Neck Channel, which was gouged through the mountain, is the final part of the system. Capable of automatically controlling the amount of water flowing into the inner river, it is an opening cut from the long ridge of Minjiang River by the Yulei Mountain, which is a throat for controlling the inflow of water in the inner river by manual cutting, named as the Bottle mouth due to its similar shape and peculiar function.

Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰
Baopingkou 宝瓶口

Two Kings Temple二王庙 is located in the Minjiang River right bank slope. It closes to Dujiangyan in the front. It was emperor temple originally for memory of the King of Shu, and in A.D. 494-498. It was offered sacrifices to Libing and his son, renamed the “Chongde Temple”. After the Song dynasty (960-1279), Libing and his son have been knighted as king successively, so the temple was called “Two Kings Temple”.

In the main hall, there is the statue of Libing and his son, water conservancy quotes, poet inscriptions and so on. The building group distributes in eastern Dujiangyan Irrigation System with large-scale, rigorous layout. It covers an area of about 50000 square meters, the main building about 10000 square meters. Two Kings Temple divided into east and west garden, east garden is landscape garden, west garden is for temple area.

Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰
Two Kings Temple 二王庙

Fulong Temple伏龙观 is located in the Lidui Park. Below is the deep pool, it is said that when Libing and his son were here to prevent floods by water control, they subdued evil dragon under the Lidui, so in the early years of the northern Song Dynasty in order to memory Libing, named “Fulong Temple”. In the middle of front hall there is Libing stone figure carved in the eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD). Inside the hall, there are also weir workers statues of the eastern Han dynasty, Tang dynasty relic that Jinxian and Princess Yuzhen cultivated themselves according to a religious doctrine in Mount Qingcheng – Flying Dragon Ding飞龙鼎.

Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰
Fulong Temple 伏龙观

Anlan Rope Bridge安澜索桥 also known as “Anlan Bridge”, “Couple Bridge”. It is located in Dujiangyan Fish Mouth Levee, across both inside and outside two rivers, known as the one of the “five bridges of ancient China”, is the most typical landscape of Dujiangyan. The original cable bridge was supported by wooden rows and stone piers, hung across the river with thick bamboo cables, covered with wooden boards as the bridge deck, and lined with bamboo cables as columns on both sides. The total length of the bridge is about 500 meters, and the bridge is made of steel cable concrete piles.

Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰
Anlan Rope Bridge 安澜索桥

Dujiangyan created a new era in the history of water resources in ancient China, marking a new stage in the history of water resources in China, and wrote a glorious chapter in the history of water resources in the world.

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