THE massive project diverting water from China's south"to her dry north is like a snake on a long and ardu-ous journey,crossing the various terrains of severalprovinces,and periodically confronted with compliea-tions as well.Maintaining the quality of the water is the com-mon concern of all the districts involved in the South-to-NorthWater Diversion Project and the national government has laiddown certain criteria,including that saving water comes beforechanneling it in,and treatment for pollutants and environmen-tal protection come in advance of Using the water.The watertransfer guidelines ensure that clean water will be in use innorthern China.
One-Armed Defender Li Ji,nqun
We went to Xichuan to interview people,and Li Jinqun wasthe first local on our list.As we got to the headworks constrne-tion site at Taocha Village near Danjiangkou Reservoir,weasked the locals for his whereabouts.One villager pointed to anelder on the bank of the canal not far from us and said,"That'sLi Jinqun; and are you the media come to interview him?" No-ticing our surprise,he explained that a lot of journalists hadmade the journey before us.
The 63-year-old Li Jinqun is a resident of Taocha Village.In197o,in the construction of Danjiangkou Reservoir,his rightarm was severed by a wire rope.Since then,Li Jinqtm could do no hard physical labor,and neither did his family allow him. He didn't want to lead an idle'life though,so he volunteered to take on the responsibility of guarding the canal,and has done so for 40 years~
In spring,Li Jinqun plants trees along its banks,and the rest of his vigilance is a daily affair.After breakfast,he walks along its banks.Seeing any garbage,he picks it up.He cheeks on the public toilet and keeps it clean.Where the dirt road gets pot-holed or badly rutted,he repairs it.All this he does for no pay and at no one's urging.Asked why,his answer is simple and spontaneous,"I've been living on the bank of the reservoir for half of my life and have a special feeling for the reservoir; the water is so good and clear here,I will never let it be fouled."
As it was getting dark,workers at the construction site were calling to each other to end the day's work.They all know that on finishing the headworks the time will come for their homes to be engulfed by the water.But they worked as usual, joked with each other as always,only the marked water level on the abandoned old gate hinted at the storyline of past decades. Showing Its True Colors
The rolling mountains embracing the Danjiangkou Reser- voir were clad in green though it was only early April,when trees are just coming into leaf in other parts of northern China. A faint mist gathered above the vast expanse of the water,butat its edge,the dearness of it was remarkable; the bottom couldbe seen in the shallow parts.At that moment,a flock of geesewas changing its V-formation as it flew overhead.Local staff member Mr.Xia Jifeng remarked proudly: "The water hereis of good quality,we can drink it directly,and it's sweet." Atlunch time,he pointed to the vegetables on the plate and said:"The vegetables here are truly organic,grown without usingany chemical fertilizers or pesticides."
"Since 2003,the Henan provincial government has ear-ried out integrated pollution treatments in the DanjiangkouReservoir area,and regulated the objectives and measures forprotecting the water quality of the reservoir," explained WangJiayong,an offidal in charge of relocation services for the Cen-tral Route of the diversion project in Henan Province.
The drainage basin of the Danjiangkou Reservoir in HenanProvince covers 7,816 square kilometers,involving six coun-ties with Xichuan included.The local government has com-prehensively promoted ecological environmental protectionwith three keystones: "Pollution pre-vention,afforestation,and water andsoil conservation." A range of mea-sures have been taken to preservenatural assets: reducing agriculturalland use,increasing green coverage,and intensifying water conserva-tion through intelligent use of waterand soil resources.The promotionof microbial organic fertilizer whilelimiting the use of chemical fertilizerand pesticides reduces soil degrada-tion.Rural residents are encouragedto use methane gas instead of burn-ing wood,so as to reduce domesticsources of air pollution.
Xiehuan is an example of localdedication.In recent years,they haveorganized many large-scale environ-mental protection activities,attracting lots of young volunteersto help restore the barren hills and land,The county's forestcoverage has reached 45.3 percent,and annual soil loss hasdecreased by more than 1.4 million tons.Since 2003 fishinghas been banned during spring with the aim of encouragingthe recovery of fish stocks,a measure essential to establish-ing a natural cleansing process for its waters and the ongoing,sustainable health of the reservoir.After years of effort,theDanjiangkou Reservoir has reached the potable water standardof Class II,and this quality has remained stable for many years.
Green Gets Tough
As we rode along the mountain road,Mr.Xia Jifeng pointedto the patches of prickly ash and explained that the locals,restricted by their environmental conditions,have activelypromoted the development of ecological agriculture.Fundedby the farmland-to-forest project,the whole county has estab-lished itself as a production forestry base of prickly ash,walnut,and chestnut trees,among others.The greenbelt now exceeds200 square kilometers,helping counter erosion and bringingeonsiderable economic returns to the farmers.A saying is mak-ing the rounds in the area to illustrate the economic value ofthe prickly ash: "Planting 5o prieldy ash trees equals raisingone pig." Now,prickly ash groves cover the once-barren slopesnearby the reservoir. To protect water sources,in 2003 Xiehuan County in effectconverted its entire industriai base.It outlawed enterpriseswith heavy power consumption andthose causing serious pollution.Wewent to visit the Nanyang TailongPaper Company,in which many work-shops,staff dormitories and guestaccommodations lay idle due to theSouth-to-North Water Diversion Proj-ect.Nanyang Tailong was one of threekey enterprises in Xichuan County.Itused to produce 41,600 tons of pulpand 2o,ooo tons of high-grade paperfor household use.With an annualproduction value of RMB 190 million,it contributed RMB 23 million to localtax revenues.Yet in 2004,it was shutdown for fating to meet environmen-tal requirements governing the reser-voir region.
Mr.Wang Jiayong informed usthat 801 enterprises in the six counties of the reservoir basinhave been closed,suspended,merged or converted becauseof their unresolved pollution problems.The local economysustained some serious blows,especially Xichuan County andLushi County,as they are listed below the poverty line by theState Council.In 2008,the Ministry of Finance implementedthe "Ecological Compensation Mechanisms," to provide com-pensation for the Six counties affected by the shutdowns.Pay-ments were made directly by the central treasury: RMB 82 mil-lion in 2oo8,292 million in 2oo9,and 467 million in 2010.
Li Sheng!in,who is in charge of Xiehuan County's migrationwork for the water diversion project,is confident the changeis a good one."Though we have less fiscal revenue,our envi-ronment has been improved.It is possible to vigorously devel-op tourism,and we invite the people of China and people fromabroad to visit our beautiful Danjiangkou Reservoir."
In fact,Xiehuan has already embarked on the developmentof tourism.During our visit there,the hotel we stayed at andthe tourist area were both initiated by a local company.TheCentral Route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Projectwill leave good things in its wake.Ancient Trumps Modern- Rescuing Cultural Relics AT 110'clock,with a bright sun overhead,more than30 villagers from Taohe Township,Xichuan Countyhad their eyes east down,sorting out fragments from excavated earth with great care.Behind them stoodthe dilapidated city wall.This is the excavation site of Xiazhaiheritage site in Taohe Township.It will be submerged by waterwhen the Danjiangkou Reservoir is raised in 2014.
In Xichuan County,128 similar historical sites like this onewill be submerged.
Rescue of 4,000-Year-Old Cultural Relics
Xiazhai heritage site is located at the juncture of two riversto the north of Xiazhai Village in Taohe Township.It faces theDanjiang River in the north and the Taohe River in the eastand south.Taohe Township is on the opposite bank.In 1957,Xichuan County Heritage Management Committee discoveredthis site,and in 1984 the Henan provincial authorities verifiedit in a general survey of heritage sites.To facilitate the con- struction of the Danjiangkou Reservoir,which is a part of theCentral Route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project,the Henan Provineiai Institute of Cultural Relies and Archae-ology organized the Xiehuan Taohe Xiazhai Heritage Site Ar-ehaeologieai Team to start work there in November of 2008.
Professor Ding Baoeheng,a leader of the archaeologicalteam,told us that the aim of the dig is to rescue cultural rel-ies.Meanwhile,it will guarantee the smooth operation of theDanjiangkou Reservoir project.He said,"This area is the meet-ing point of the ancient Central Plains culture and the YangtzeRiver Valley culture.We hope the excavated relics will give usa better understanding of this ancient culture's characteristics,particularly cultural exchanges between north and south'"
The Xiazhai Heritage Site is divided into two part:s: the for-tress remains in the north and the neolithic site in the south,covering 47o,0oo square metdrs.In the northern part theremains of the Taohe Stronghold can still be seen.It was builtduring the Qing Emperor Tongzhi's reign (1861-1874).Thewalled stronghold was rectangular,820 meters from east towest and 44o meters from north to south.Two sections of itswalls are still standing but their height has dwindled to six me-ters.The rescue excavation will concentrate on undergroundcultural relics from remoter past,through which archaeologistshope to learn more about the southward drift of Central Plainsculture in the late Longshan Culture period and related issuesof the early Chu culture.
Longshan Culture dates back 4,25o to 3,95o years.Thistime was the zenith of pottery making in Chinese history,andrefers to relics and other remains from the late Neolithic Age inthe middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River.During thatperiod,both bronze and stone artifacts were used.LongshanCulture got its name from the archaeological discoveries fromLongshan Town,Licheng County,Shandong Province,now un-der the jurisdiction of Zhangqiu City.
At the excavation site,farmers from nearby villages workunder the guidance of archaeologists.Their operations are ofthree kinds: digging,moving earth and sieving it.The mostimportant task is to sort out excavated fragments during siev-ing.They told this reporter that the pay is RMB 20 per dayper person.Although compensation is not high,farmers canmake some extra money,and the excavation site is not far fromhome.
The farmers may not understand the significance of theirseemingly simple work.Quite a number of valuable culturalrelics of the Shijiahe Culture have been unearthed,includ-ing a stone battle-axe.Dating back 4,600 to 4,000 years,theShijiahe Culture belongs to the Neolithic Culture and wascentered in the middie and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.The first relics were discovered in Shihe Town,Tianmen City,Hubei Province,including copper blocks,jade wares,sacrificialremains,script-like incised symbols and evidence of city life, indicating entry into a civilized epoch.
From Sidelines to Spotlight
In recent years,novels with plots and themes featuring tombrobbery,such as Ghost Blows the Lamp,and Notes on a TombRobbery,have become popular.Every story mentions a diggingtool called the "Luoyang shovel."
Luoyang City in Henan Province was one of the earliest an-cient capitals of China.Starting in the Xia Dynasty,13 dynas-ties made Luoyang their capital.There are many ancient tombsand historical sites here,and the Luoyang shovel got its namefrom the wide use it was put to in the area.Said to be inventedin the mid-Ming Dynasty,the Luoyang shovel is semi-cylindri-cal,which enables it to bring up earth from the depths.Tombrobbers were rumored to use it to probe the texture of the earthdeep underground,to judge whether tombs were buried there.Now,the Luoyang shovel is a tool for legitimate archaeologicalexploration.
Professor Ding Baocheng showed us how to use the curioustool.Noting that tomb robbery is still rampant,he says the rel-evant government departments attach importance to the cul-tural salvaging role of archaeological work.In fact,the questionof whether protection would be extended to cultural relics inthe Danjiangkou Reservoir went from being neglected to beingemphasized.In the construction of the Danjiangkou Reservoirin the 1950s and 196os,heritage protection was not given dueconsideration.In 1974,when water levels were lowered in theactive reservoir,more than 2o aristocratic tombs of the Stateof Chu in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.) wereexposed,and more than 5,000 artifacts including bronze wareand jade ware were discovered.People judged that Xichuanmight be the earliest capital of the State of Chu,an importantvassal state in that period.
Xichuan County was a communication hub on the way from theJianghan Drainage Basin to the Central ShaarLxi Plain,and relics ofthe Neolithic Age,such as the Yangshao Culture,Qujialing Culture,Longshan Culture and Shijiahe Culture,have been found there.Inthe summer of 2003,the Henan Provincial Institute of,Heritageand Archaeology,together with the heritage management depart-ments of the counties and cities,conducted investigations of theareas to be submerged by the reservoir,and verified 106 ancienttombs,two ancient buildings,one ancient stele,and 19 pits of an-cient fossils and palaeoanthropology,totaling 128 sites.
In the construction of the Central Route of the Water Diver-sion Project,whose source is the Danjiangkou Reservoir,thework of heritage preservation is underway.Huang Shengkun,deputy director of the Cultural Relics Office of Xichuan CountyBureau of Cultural Relics,told this reporter: "Through investi-gation of the distribution of reservoir artifacts these.last years,we were able to produce a map of cultural relics distributionfor the office of the Water Diversion Project.The Cultural Rel-ics Protection Office of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project of Henan Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics consid-ers all the data provided by us,and every year it approves somearchaeological plans." Since 2005,77 archaeological excavationteams from all over the country have come to Xichuan,andaltogether 85 excavation projects have been undertaken in thereservoir area.The rest of the excavation projects will be fin-ished before the Central Route goes into operation in 2014.
Huang clarified that the Xichuan County Bureau of CulturalRelics is mainly in charge of coordinating the labor force andenforcing security measures.At present,excavations only in-volve cultural relics beneath the submergence line,so they areessentially rescue excavations.Huang Shengkun admits,"Timeis short,so we have chosen a few key sites for our efforts."
Xichuan County established a cultural relics sorting basein 2010,specifically to make it con-venient for archaeological teams tomass their talent and manpower forthe process of sorting out culturalrelics."Before the establishment ofthe base,the archaeological teamswere scattered.Cultural relics had tobe carted to the nearest county town,and houses rented for the teams todo the sorting," explained Huang,suggesting the old method was bothtime consuming and risky.At pres-ent,13 archaeological teams are us-ing the new base for the storage andstudy of retrieved items.Construction Makes Way forHeritage Sites
In 2009,Cao Cao's tomb was dis-covered in Anyang City,Henan Prov-ince.Professor Pan Weibin,leader ofthat archaeological team,picked upthe clues to the location of Cao Cao'stomb during the excavation of Au-yang's Gu'an Tomb,another heritagesite along the Central Route of thewater diversion project.
Henan Province has a long his-tory,and a well-deserved reputationfor its discovery of cultural relic sites.It has jurisdiction over part of theDanjiangkou Reservoir submergedarea,and some related trunk canalsconstructed for the Central Route ofthe water diversion project.Of the33o heritage sites along its course,273 have been approved for protec-tion by the state,covering an area of850,000 square meters,and expect-ed to absorb an investment of RMB 445 million.
Wang Jiayong,director of the Environment and Migra-tion Section of the Leading Group Office for the project,said,"Henan Province bears the greatest responsibility for heritagepreservation in the water diversion project." Accordingly,the Henan Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics has set up aspecial office: the Office of Cultural Relics Protection of theSouth-to-North Water Diversion Project,responsible for uni-fied planning of the cultural relics protection of the wholeprovince.
Two decrees were promulgated in 2oo8,covering both theadministration of heritage preservation in the first stage of theproject,and the administration of funding for the work.TheState Administration of Cultural Heritage and the office of the State Council South-to-North Water Diversion ConstructionCommittee jointly undertook the regulating process,with pri-ority given to rescue and heritage preservation.
Wang Jiayong recounted that during the planning stage ofthe water diversion project,the blueprints were modified tomake way for the excavation of importantheritage sites.Once a cultural deposit isuncovered by construction work,the opera-tion is suspended and the matter reportedto the relevant departments.He remembers:"In 2o08,in the construction of the Anyangsection,tombs of the Warring States Periodwere found.The operation was suspended,so that the archaeological department couldsurvey and excavate.Similar cases abound.The'construction schedule of a project isoften changed for the sake of the nationallegacy."
Dong RUl calculated thatby the end ofFebruary 2o11,Henan Province had fin-ished excavation of 228 historical sites,covering nearly 800,ooo square meters.Dong is from the Heritage Protection andManagement Office of Henan ProvincialBureau of Cultural Relics devoted to thewater diversion project.An investment ofRMB 280 million has been burned throughso far,and more than 6o,ooo pieces ofinterest unearthed.The investment wasresoundingly worthwhile.Six projects,in-cluding the Liuzhuang Site of Hebi and theTanghu Site of Xinzheng~ were selected asthe top ten archaeological discoveries of thecountry.Henan is completing the reloca-tion and reconstruction of cultural relicsabove ground and patrolling of cultural rel-iCs exposed along the general trunk canal -two more duties to add to its commitmentsto accelerate recovery work in 2011 andpromote construction of the Museum of theSouth-to-North Water Diversion Project.
Similar phenomena can be found inother spots along the Eastern and Centralroutes of the project.According to ShenFengsheng,chief engineer of the office of the State CouncilSouth-to-North Water Diversion Construction Committee,quite a number of cultural relics have been found in the proj-ect area.If a heritage site is not so important,in general thelocal heritage management bureau conducts the excavation,and the original blueprint sticks."I went to a historical sitein Xinzheng City,not far from Zhengzhou," he said,"and it isnot especially important,so we arranged excavations and thecanal was dug according to the original plan." But there areexceptions.In Shandong Province,the construction team dis-covered an important and unknown heritage site.Exploratorydigging helped determine it was a very large ancient city.Insuch a case,the canal must bow to the national heritage site.Circumvention does not cost much.Shen Fengsheng sums itup,"The original canal route was straight,running 11 kilome-ters.We had to submit a plan for our superiors' approval toadd a detour of several more kilometers and to redesign allauxiliary facilities; we really had no other option but to make way for it." 
Legacies of Civil Engineering
CHINA is not afraid of thinking big when it comes to wa-ter infrastructure projects.The Three Gorges Dam onthe Yangtze River is just one recent addition to a longhistory of achievement that goes back to antiouitv.Thestory of Yu the Great is the earliest example of China's efforts tocontrol its rivers.
Some 5,ooo years ago,the Yellow River Valley was perpetual-ly plagued by floods that submerged farmland and caused manydeaths.The tribes along the river got together and elected a mancalled Gun to curb the severe floods.However,despite trying fornine years Gun failed to achieve this and was executed for hisfailure.
His son Yu was selected to take over the work.Highly moti-vated for obvious reasons,Yu made several exploratory missionsand found out why his father's efforts had been in vain.He era-barked on a program Of building and reinforcing dikes and damsand dredging out channels.He also dug new watercourses tolead the floodwaters harmlessly to the sea.
Yu dedicated himself to flood control for over a decade.Although he passed by his home three times,he did not goinside,saying that as long as people were suffering,he couldnot break off his work; rather,he should put in more effort.People called him Yu the Great for his .dedication and achieve-ments.His dredging approach became an effective tool inflood alleviation.
The Ximen Canals are a large-scale irrigation system builtin the early years of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).The canals drew off water from the Zhanghe River and irri-gated the areas south of that river (north of today's Anyang,Heuan Province).
They were built,it is believed,by Ximen Bao,the magistrateof Yecheng County.Prior to his taking office,the county hadbeen at the mercy of corrupt officials who imposed heavy taxesto conduct a ritual called the "river god's wedding." But actuallythe tax revenue was carved up between the officials and a sorcer-ess.She would look for a pretty young female and throw her intothe river as a "bride" for the river god.The sorceress terrorizedlocals by predicting that floods would destroy the county if nobridal sacrifice was made.
Seeing the people's suffering,Ximen Bao firmly opposed thisceremony,so the next time the ritual day came around he com-plained that the girl selected was not pretty enough and askedthe sorceress to personally explain to the river god.Splash! Hethrew her into the river to swim with the fishes.After this localofficials no longer dared to inflict burdensome taxes on the pre-text of the "river god's wedding."
Afterwards,Ximen Bao mobilized the people to dig a systemof canals to divert water from'e Zhanghe to irrigate their fields.
The canal started west of Yechang.The system of 12 canals,involving 12 weirs and 12 dams,not only controlled flooding,butalso resulted in bumper harvests in future years. In 1959,the Yuecheng Reservoir was built on the ZhangheRiver to.replace the aged canals.
Dujiangyan Irrigation System
Located on the Minjiang River in western Sichuan Province,Dujiangyan is the world's oldest water conservancy project todivert water without a dam.The project,built in 256 BC and de-signed by a father and son team,still plays an important role inirrigation and flood control.
Populations near the Minjiang River were plagued by flood-ing,so local official,Li Bing and his son were assigned to con-struct an irrigation and flood relief system.The project was builton its upper and middle reaches where the water rushes outfrom the mountains and flows to an alluvial fan plain.Its mainconstructions include Bottleneck Channel (Baopingkou),FishMouth Dividing Levee (Yuzuiyan) and Flying Sand Spillway(Feishayan)
They decided to draw water by diverting it through the YuleiMountain.They dug out a pass 4o meters high,2o meters wideand 8o meters long.Shaped like a bottleneck,the pass leads ex-cessive water flow from the west side of the mountain to the eastside,preventing floods while irrigating farmland.
The terrain is higher on the east side of the mountain thanon the west,so to keep up the flow of irrigation water Li Bingdesigned and built an ingenious dividing levee (known,becauseof its shape,as the Fish Mouth Levee).This separates the waterinto outer and inner streams.The former joins the Minjiang'smain stream and the inner one flows to the Bottleneck Channel.
At the rear part of the levee,a spillway was constructed totransport sand and other sediments to the outer river so as toprevent silting up the inner river and the Bottleneck Channel.Therefore,this part is called the Flying Sand Spillway.
This early example of civil engineering ambition createda complete and scientific irrigation and drainage network,bringing prosperity to the area.Two millennia on it is asresilient as ever: Dujiangyan is very close to the epicenter ofthe massive earthquake that hit Siehuan in May 20o8.Thelevee cracked and a sluice control room and standby genera-tor room collapsed,but the irrigation system as a whole wasnot badly damaged: regional irrigation recovered within a fewdays of the disaster.
Lingqu Canal,also known to history as the Douhe River andXing'an Canal,is located in Xing'an County of Guangxi ZhuangAutonomous Region.Dating back over 2,200 years,the LingquCanal is one of the oldest canals in the world.
In 221 BC,Emperor Qinshihuang vanquished the contendingstates and unified the Central Plains area under the Qin Dynasty.With a view to extending his conquests to the states in southernChina,in 219 BC Emperor Qinshihuang appointed an official ShiLu to construct a canal to transport army provisions.
The main projects,including the Doumen (the first ship lockin the world),North and South Channels and the Qin Dykeformed a water transportation network connecting the Yangtze and the Pearl river systems.
The Lingqu Canal has enjoyed great renown by reason of itsdesign and outstanding constructions.It is considered one ofthe three greatest water conservancy projects of the Qin Dy-nasty,the others being the Dujiangyan Irrigation System andthe Zhengguo Canal.
The canal ensured food and material supplies reached Qintroops.In addition to its significance in military logistics,it wasvitally important in unifying the country,integrating differentethnic groups and facilitating economic and cultural exchangesbetween central and southern China.In terms of strengthen-ing frontier defenses,it can be compared to the Great Wall inChina's north.
Under the Han and Tang dynasties,the Lingqu Canal wasfurther improved,and it continues to be important in transpor-tation and irrigation.
Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal
The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is one of the longest andoldest man-made waterways in the world.Starting at Beijing,itpasses through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei,Shandong andJiangsu before terminating in Hangzahou,Zhejiang Province.Witha total length of 1,794 kilometers,the canal links the water sys-tems of the Yangtze,Yellow,Huaihe,Haihe,and Qiantang rivers.
The oldest parts of the canal date back to 486 BC,and severalsections were dug during the next few centuries.But the canalwas eventually connected in the Sui Dynasty (581-618) whenEmperor Yang Guang ordered more than two million people towork on the project.Following further development under theTang (618-907) and Song (96o-1279) dynasties,in the YuanDynasty (1271-1368) the canal became a grand waterway thatlinked its capital Dadu (Beijing) and Hangzhou in the year 1293.
The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal also played an importantrole in strengthening economic and eu]turai exchanges betweennorth and south China,boosting the economies of regions alongits route as well as stimulating the growth of cities and towns.
However,its importance went into decline in the 19th cen-tury with the development of alternative sea routes and thebuilding of railways.For decades,the northern and southernparts of the canal remained disconnected.Many sections fellinto disrepair and some parts reverted to fields.After thefounding of the People's Republic of China in 1949,recon-struction work began.The eanai is currently being upgradedto serve as the Eastern Route of the South-to-North WaterDiversion Proiect.