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Tuoshan Weir
2019-05-15 14:51 Text Size: A A A

Near Tuoshan Mountain, Tuoshan Weir is one of the most famous ancient water conservancy projects and a key site under the state-level protection of cultural relics. On 13th, October, 2015, it was listed as the first World Irrigation Engineering Heritage in Ningbo City.

Tuoshan Weir, which was so named because of its location in Tuoshan Mountain, has a history of more than 1,150 years. In 833, Wang Yuanwei, the administer of Mao (Ningbo), who was very much concerned about people’s livelihood, decided to start an irrigation and drainage project after on-the-spot investigation when he saw people suffer from the casualties and destruction to crops by flood and drought, because the Yin River failed to conserve water from various streams while salt tide would pour in during rainy days.

 Tuoshan Weir, 134.4 meters long, 4.8 meters wide and 10 meters high, was built up with stone slabs, with 36 stone steps on either side. The body of the weir was piled by thousands of huge trunks covered with flagstones. In order to prevent it from being washed away, a huge trunk of plum-wood called “Dameimu” (Umenoki) was placed under the weir, with both its south and north ends joining the rocks, withstanding endless surge while still remaining firm. Dameimu came from Dameishan (Damei Mountain) in the Yin County and legend has it that it was cut into three sections by Sun Quan (King of the Wu Kingdom) with one made into Dianjiangtai (Call-the-muster-roll Platform), another one into the crossbeam of the Yuwang Temple and the third one into the crossbeam of the Weir, firm as ever for over one-thousand of years. 

Seated at the throat of the waterway, the Weir assumes the functions of water diversion, storage, flood relief and irrigation. In times of flood, 70% of the water was discharged through the river, with the remaining 30% going to the brook; in time of drought, 70% of the water was diverted to the brook, with the remaining 30% going to the river. Intercepted by the Yin River, the Weir diverted the water through the water gate in the south of Ningbo City before emptying into the Sun Lake (no longer existent now) and the Moon Lake. The two streams, with diversions by distribution networks, transverse the towns in Yinxi Plain, and irrigated thousands of hectares of farmlands in 7 towns (benefiting 16,000 hectares of farmland even today). Although Tuoshan Weir has weathered storms of hundreds of years, the Weir still played a major role in blocking seawater and retaining freshwater.

To commemorate Wang Yuanwei, locals in Ningbo built a temple and erected an inscription tablet near the Tuoshan Weir in honor of his feat in constructing the Weir.

Surrounded by verdant hills and clear waters, Tuoshan Weir presents the most splendid look to the world with its striking beauty. After rainfalls, it becomes a luxuriant and wonderful spectacle with clouds, mists and waterfalls on the meandering mountains far away.

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