Zhengguo Canal – the World Irrigation Project Heritage

In early August 2017, Zhengguo Canal was selected as the World Irrigation Project Heritage.


According to report, the World Irrigation Project Heritage, together with the World Cultural Heritage and the World Natural Heritage, are called the World Heritage. The world irrigation project heritage selecting activity started in 2014 and was carried out by ICID. The aim of the selecting activity is to preserve and re-use the ancient irrigation system better, to learn from sustainable irrigation project built in history, and to study development of irrigation project in history in the world. In 2016, 48 ancient irrigation projects applied in the activity and 12 were selected. And the 12 selected irrigation projects three are in China. They are: Zhengguo Canal in Shaanxi, Chatanpo in Jian, Jiangxi, and Lougang of Taihu Lake in Zhejiang.


Zhengguo Canal is the earliest large scale irrigation project in Guanzhong Plain. In the Warring States Period (475BC-221BC), the Qin State worked for 10 years and construct the canal and brought in water from Jinghe River. The project benefited 2800000 mu farming field in Guanzhong Plain.

Since then, people in Guanzhong Plain had big harvest each year. And the Qin State’s economy strength is much developed, which offered abundant material condition for Qin State to unify the other six States.

There are three famous ancient irrigation projects in China: Dujiangyan in Sichuan, Lingju Canal in Guangxi, and Zhengguo Canal in Shaanxi. They are of the same historical importance as Great Wall, Grand Canal, And Karez Well. Till today the body part of Zhengguo Canal still function as the irrigation canal in Guanzhong Plain. Within the 5km2 area there are tens of ancient irrigation canals ruins. The inscription on stone steles discovered in ruins introduce the basic facts of the canal in different dynasties.

The most grand part of Zhengguo Canal is in Jingyang County which is 1 hour driving from Xian. Today’s canal brings in water from both Jinghe River and Luoshui River, and the canal’s length reaches 150km.