Canals of the Celestial Empire.
In Ningpo, Fo-Kien and Shanghai the modes of irrigation are generally from small ditches taken from streams or large canals. Says The Age: At Ningpo the ditches are mainly supplied from underground waters, supplied from springs that come to the surface in the hills and valleys. The river water is brackish and is never used for irrigation. Supply canals are generally from two to three miles in length and fill the shallow laterals, which are dug at right angles from 200 to 300 feet apart and from ten to thirty feet wide. In the province of Fo-Kien the rainfall is quite heavy, but Irrigation has become an additional security against drouth. There are no storage dams, though the country is well adapted to their construction.
According to the latest idea of historical students the Chinese derive their methods of irrigation from Assyria and Babylon. There is an extension of knowledge and interest manifested by the Chinese in the study of irrigation. Water is lifted from the main channels, where the tides do no» rise sufficiently for irrigation, by rude machinery. This consists of a main cog wheel, worked by oxen, which turns a roller at the upper end of the trough ; at the lower end of which, immersed in the canal, there is another roller, and over these an endless series of wooden boxes revolve. The boxes or boards fitting the trough elevate the water and pour it into the fields, over which it is distributed by open drains. The whole machine is readily moved from place to place and the trough can be arranged at any angle to suit the inclination of the bank. The chain or rope-pump process is operated by either man or animal power. This is the oldest method, but is destined to gradually be supplanted by modern appliances, of which the most advanced natives are securing information.