Huoquan Spring Irrigation System
2024-01-17 14:36

Huoquan Spring Irrigation System is located in Hongdong County, Linfen City, Shanxi Province. With a north-south length of 21.7 km and an east-west width of 16.2 km, it covers an area of 182.26 km2, accounting for 12.2% of the total area of Hongdong County. In November 2023, Huoquan Spring Irrigation System was inscribed into the World Irrigation Project Heritage List.

Formed during the Himalaya orogeny 2.5 million years ago, Huoquan Spring enjoys excellent water quality and a large stable outflow of 3.67m3/s. In the 6th century, Mr. Li Daoyuan, a famous geographer, documented Huoquan Spring in his Commentary on the Waterways Classics, describing its location, flow direction and the deep pond it formed. The earliest written records of Huoquan Spring Irrigation System can be traced back to the Zhenguan Period (A.D. 627-A.D. 649) of the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-A.D. 907). According to the Memorial Stele of Reconstructing the Water God Temple erected in 1283, the Irrigation System boasted of four main canals, nurturing a large number of villages with abundant harvests and beautiful environment in the Zhaocheng and Hongtong Counties. Apart from irrigation, people in the 11th century also took advantage of the gravitational energy of the spring water to rotate mills. By the 1950s, over 240 water mills were still operating effectively.

During the long history, people worked out self-management rules based on water use units and a set of regulations centered on fair distribution of water resources. Moreover, an embryonic form of water rights system had been carried out for over 1,000 years. This unique Huoquan Spring Irrigation System is of great significance for the study of the ancient Chinese water resources management and local governance.