China, VIth century BC

Published on 30 January 2008
The Anfantang reservoir has been preserved right up until today.

Deprived of contacts between each other, highly distinct civilisations nevertheless demonstrated surprising similarities in their attempts to master and manage water.

This was the case in China, with structures such as the reservoir of Anfangtang, built between 598 and 591 BC, under the governance of Sun Shuao, minister to King Ting. This structure was part of a set of seven reservoirs built in the centre and West of the country, as well as around Shanghai.

Containing more than 100 million cubic metres of water, it experienced several periods where it was left to its own devices, but was regularly repaired, and still remains in service today.

China has bequeathed a lot of other structures that were of importance in ancient times. Here, in particular, one might cite the gabion dam 30 metres in height and 300 metres in length constructed around 240 BC on the river Gukow in Shanxi province. Or nearer to our times, the Ming embankment 100 km long, constructed in the XVIth-XVIIth centuries around Hungtse Lake, in Kansou.