National Geographic : 1912 Oct
CHINESE COUNTRY VILLAGE LINING BOTH SIDES OF A CANAL Section one-third of a mile long between two bridges, where in three rows of houses live 240 families nel, where the stream bed is above the adjacent country, in order to prevent widespread disaster and to limit the in undated areas in times of unusual flood. In the province of Hupeh, where the Han River flows through 200 miles of low country, this stream is diked on both sides throughout the whole dis tance, and in a portion of its course the height of the levees reaches 30 feet or more. Again, in the Canton Delta region, there are other hundreds of miles of sea wall and dikes, so that the aggregate mileage of this type of construction works in the Empire can only be meas ured in thousands of miles. In addition to the canal and levee con struction works, there are numerous im pounding reservoirs which are brought into requisition to control overflow wa ters from the great streams. Some of the interior reservoirs have areas of 2,000 and 1,800 square miles, and during the heaviest rainy seasons each may rise through 20 to 30 feet. Then there are other large and small lakes in the coastal plain, giving an aggregate reservoir area exceeding 13,000 square miles, all of which are brought into service in con trolling flood waters, all of which are steadily filling with the sediments brought from the far-away, uncultivable mountain slopes and which are ultimately destined to become rich alluvial plains, doubtless to be canalized in the manner we have seen. NEW LAND IN THE MAKING There is still another phase of these vast construction works which has been of the greatest moment in increasing the maintenance capacity of the Empire the wresting from the flood waters of the enormous volumes of silt which they carry, depositing it over the flooded areas, in the canals, and along the shores in such manner as to add to the habit able and cultivable land. Reference may be made to the rapid growth of Chung ming Island, in the mouth of the Yangtse kiang, and the million people now find ing homes on the 270 square miles of newly made land which now has its ca nals, as may be seen in the upper margin of map No. 2.