Ancient Chinese irrigation system stands test of time -- and quake





High above the world's oldest operating irrigation system, Zhang Shuanggun, a local villager, stands on an observation platform cracked by China's massive earthquake last week.

She has a simple answer for why the ancient, bamboo-based Dujiangyan irrigation system sustained only minor damage, while nearby modern dams and their vast amounts of concrete are now under 24-hour watch for signs of collapse.

"This ancient project is perfection," Zhang said.

From the hillside platform, the workings of the ingenious irrigation project that is now a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site are clearly visible.


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