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Xinghua irrigation project gets world heritage designation

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etaizhou.gov.cn|Updated: October 8, 2022

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Unique because it is the only one in the world on raised and dry farmland, the Xinghua Duotian Irrigation and Drainage System is located in Taizhou city. [Photo by Yang Bo/China News Service]

The Xinghua Duotian Irrigation and Drainage System – located in Taizhou city, in East China's Jiangsu province – was recognized as a World Heritage Irrigation Structure on Oct 6, along with three other historical Chinese irrigation sites.

The ancient irrigation system is unique in that it is now the world's only irrigation and drainage system located on raised, dry farmland.

Its international recognition brings the total number of Chinese projects on the list to 30, the Ministry of Water Resources said in a statement.

With the inclusion of the four projects – announced by the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, or ICID, which was meeting in Adelaide, Australia – China has become a country "with the richest type, widest distribution and highest irrigation efficiency of heritage structures", the ministry said.

Created in 1950, the ICID is an international organization, that works to boost scientific and technological exchanges on irrigation, drainage and flood control.

It established the World Heritage Irrigation Structures designation in 2014, aiming to protect and promote irrigation projects of historical and scientific value.

The Xinghua Duotian Irrigation and Drainage System stemmed from efforts since the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to prevent flooding and has been in use ever since.

The system not only increases local grain production and population capacity in the area, but also creates a unique and pleasant landscape with a variegated folk culture that draws tourists.

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A woman rows a boat in the Xinghua Duotian Irrigation and Drainage System. [Photo by Hu Zhaoming]

The other three historical Chinese irrigation sites are the Tongjiyan Irrigation System in Sichuan province, the Songgu Irrigation Scheme in Zhejiang province and the Chongyi Shangbao Terraces in Jiangxi province.

Besides the four Chinese projects, 15 irrigation projects from Australia, India, Iraq, Japan, South Korea and Sri Lanka were also honored this year.

So far, 140 projects from 18 countries have been listed.

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