Why is Dujiangyan Irrigation System special?
Some 60km northwest of Chéngdū, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System was undertaken in the 3rd century BC by prefect and engineer Li Bing to divert the fast-flowing Min River via weirs into irrigation canals.
Today, Dujiangyan has become a major tourist attraction and in 2000, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Dujiangyan Irrigation System Highlights
Three Main Constructions
For Li Bing’s Brilliance, Dujiangyan 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.
Yuzui (Fish Mouth Levee)
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.
It is an artificial levee that divides the water into inner and outer streams. The inner stream carries approximately 40%, rising to 60% during flood, of the river’s flow into the irrigation system whilst that outer stream drains away the rest, flushing out much of the silt and sediment.
Feishayan (Flying Sand Weir)
Feishayan or Flying Sand Weir has a 200 m-wide opening that connects the inner and outer streams. This ensures against flooding by allowing the natural swirling flow of the water to drain out excess water from the inner to the outer stream.
Baopingkou (Bottle-Neck Channel)
Baopingkou or Bottle-Neck Channel, which Li Bing gouged through the mountain, is the final part of the system. The channel distributes the water to the farmlands to the west, whilst the narrow entrance, which gives it its name, works as a check gate, creating the whirlpool flow that carries away the excess water over Flying Sand Fence, to ensure against flooding.
Anlan Suspension Bridge
Spanning the full width of the river connecting the artificial island to both banks, the Alan Suspension Bridge, also known as Couple’s Bridge, is one of the great 5 ancient bridges in China.
Two Kings Temple
Located on the bank of the river at foot of Mount Yulei, the Two Kings Temple (Erwang Temple in Chinese) was built in honor of Li Bing and his legendary son whom they had posthumously promoted to kings.
Dragon-Taming Temple, in Chinese known as Fulongguan, was founded in the 3rd century in honor of Fan Chengsheng, the Jin Dynasty founder of Tainshi Daoism.
Following Li Bing’s death, a hall was established here in his honor and the temple was renamed to commemorate the dragon fighting legends about him.