After Qin Emperor Shihuang conquered the six
states and united China, he ordered the construction of Ling Canal between 223BC
and 214BC. At a length of 34 kilometers, the canal joins the Xiangjiang River
and the Lijiang River, connecting the two water systems of the Yangtze River and
the Pearl River. The whole canal system was finally completed, with numerous
renovations during the Eastern Han (25-220) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties.
The Ling Canal is not only one of the most
famous irrigation works in ancient China, but also a scenic spot with an
enchanting landscape. The canal's original name was Qinzao Canal, but it was
renamed in the Tang Dynasty.
The watershed project of the Ling Canal is located
in the reservoir, three kilometers east of Xing'an City. The project comprises
a spade-shaped dam and two dykes. The dam is about six meters high, 74 meters
long and 23.4 meters wide, cutting the Xiangjiang River into two streams. The
two dykes, forming a " Y" shape, further fortify the dam. The dykes are much shorter than both
banks of the Xiangjiang River, allowing floodwater to pour down into its
watercourse. In addition to blocking the river and channeling water into the
canal, the watershed dam also automatically drains out excess water.
To solve problems of shallow, narrow,
windings and rapid sections, dykes shaped like semi-circles are built where the
water is shallow, rapidly raising the water level so boats can pass. Such dykes
are the original form of water locks and the earliest control measure used in
sea navigation in the world.
The Ling Canal connects the Pearl and
Yangtze rivers, promoting economic and cultural exchanges between people of the
Central Plain and the area south of the Five Ridges (Guangdong and Guangxi
provinces). The canal has undergone many renovations since China's liberation,
and become an important irrigation canal in