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Notes on the Geography of China: Dujiangyan: Photo 13

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The famous answer to that question of how to close the canal: a line of weighted tripods was alternately set across the channel of the Old and then the New Canal.  Mats were laid against it and held in place by tubes filled with rocks.  In October, the Old Canal--the main river--was dry, so it could be dredged to the desired level.  In February, the cofferdam was shifted to divert the entire river into the Old Canal for 45 days, while the New Canal was dredged to the level of the iron bars set in its floor at a depth of three feet below the Old Canal.  At a ceremony on April fifth each year, ropes pulled the tripods free and the river began flowing once again into the New Canal.  Today, the opening occurs a bit earlier, in March.

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