2021-12-07

Ancient water storage and irrigation system in Sakya, Tibet: reflecting the wisdom of Tibetan ancestors to adapt and overcome nature

By yqqlm yqqlm

Lhasa, December 7 (reporter Jiang Feibo) – the ancient water storage and irrigation system in saga, Tibet, was recently selected as the world Irrigation Engineering Heritage list in 2021 by the international irrigation and drainage Committee. Liu Xueying, head of the application team for Sakya ancient water storage and irrigation system and professor of Zhejiang Institute of water resources and hydropower, said in an interview with reporters that the irrigation system reflects the wisdom of Tibetan ancestors to adapt to nature and overcome natural objective conditions in alpine areas, which is a great achievement

Sakya County, Tibet is located in the plateau temperate semi-arid monsoon climate area, with more soil and less water. In order to make full and effective use of water sources, from the late Song Dynasty to the early Yuan Dynasty, the Sakya people gradually established a water storage and irrigation system along the Chongqu River (Sakya River). Liu Xueying said that after several centuries of construction, the utilization and management system of the irrigation system has been improved. Up to now, the irrigation system still uses the ancient engineering form and management mode for reference

Ancient water storage and irrigation system in Sakya, Tibet: reflecting the wisdom of Tibetan ancestors to adapt and overcome nature

hand drawn drawing of ancient water storage and irrigation system in Sakya. Professor Liu Xueying’s team provided pictures

he introduced that in 2020, his team visited Tibet seven times, found the ancient water storage and irrigation system of Sakya, made field visits, consulted ancient books in Sakya temple and understood relevant records. His team found about 400 reservoirs on the Chongqu river valley plain

it is reported that the ancient water storage and irrigation system of Sakya is divided into three tributaries in the north of Sakya temple, which are controlled by a three gate sluice. The three branches flow to the Sanwang reservoir, which is also controlled by a sluice. The surrounding of this irrigation system is irrigated land

“the local permeable layer is about 40 to 50 meters, and the ancients used local natural materials to build a water conservancy system.” Liu Xueying also introduced the unique management method of the irrigation system: two “cuoben” work together, and they should often patrol to solve water disputes; The switches of different sluice gates can only be operated by “water women”, and unauthorized opening and closing of sluice gates will be punished; When the sluice gate is opened and closed, each household involved will send a representative. Once the reservoir gate is opened, each household representative waiting in front of their own small sluice will open the slate or wooden door leading to their own small canal

he said that in the high altitude and cold areas with an altitude of 4000-5000 meters, the ancients skillfully achieved the benefits and harm elimination effect that modern water conservancy projects strive to achieve, as well as the comprehensive functional requirements such as irrigation and drought resistance, which is a great achievement

Ancient water storage and irrigation system in Sakya, Tibet: reflecting the wisdom of Tibetan ancestors to adapt and overcome nature(1)

some reservoirs are still functioning. Professor Liu Xueying’s team provided drawings

on December 7, Zaton, director of the water resources bureau of Sakya County, said that due to its long history, some reservoirs around Sakya temple have lost their function in the ancient water storage and irrigation system of Sakya. “We plan to further verify the historical data and apply for funds to restore the functions of some old reservoirs in combination with the actual situation, so as to further protect the heritage of the irrigation project.”

it is reported that highland barley is the ration of Tibetan people. According to the official information released by Xigaze City, Tibet, Xigaze city is the main commodity grain base in Tibet. The cultivation of highland barley has a long history. Today, the cultivation area of highland barley accounts for about 40% of the whole region of Tibet, which is known as the “hometown of highland barley”. (end)