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 1970 In Review: Water Conservancy Construction Advances Swiftly

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1970 In Review: Water Conservancy Construction Advances Swiftly


Source: Peking Review, No. 4, January 22, 1971
Transcribed by www.WENGEWANG.ORG


“IRRIGATION ... is the lifeblood of agriculture.” Guided by this teaching of Chairman Mao's, setting the Tachai Brigade as their example and displaying the spirit of self-reliance and hard struggle, China's poor and lower-middle peasants and revolutionary cadres have made water conservancy the central point in large-scale capital construction for farmland.
 Construction of many large and medium-sized key water conservancy projects started and a great number of small ones have been built in various places in the past year. The capacity of newly installed electric pumps last year accounted for one-sixth of the total added during the 20 years between liberation and 1969; the generating capacity of new small hydroelectric power stations came to half the combined increases during these two decades. Thanks to water conservancy construction, some low-yielding areas constantly hit by natural disasters now give- stable and high yields. Farmland ensuring stable yields in spite of waterlogging or drought has been expanded.
   With Mao Tsetung Thought as their weapon, the masses and cadres criticized the trash of the counterrevolutionary revisionist line pushed by the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi, such as "rely on a small number of specialists, not the masses, to build water conservancy projects," "stress building big water conservancy projects while neglecting the small ones," and "worship foreign dogma and ignore indigenous methods devised by the masses." They carried out the principle of building big, medium and small water conservancy works in a co-ordinated way and putting the emphasis on the small ones, on building complete irrigation and drainage networks and on those built by production brigades or people's communes themselves. They also combined modern with indigenous methods. The enthusiasm of the masses was thus enormously raised.
   Many places concentrated their strength on harnessing big rivers through mass campaigns and achieved greater, faster, better and more economical results. In response to Chairman Mao's great call "The Haiho River must be brought under permanent control!" the people of Hopei Province have concentrated their efforts each year on harnessing one or several channels or tributaries and thereby transformed large areas the same year. After several years of hard work, flood and waterlogging in the greater part of the Haiho River basin have been in the main brought under control. The centuries-old unruly river is being transformed into a beneficial one. In the winter of late 1970, more than 300,900 people pooled their efforts to tame the Haiho's four northern tributaries.
   From winter 1969 to spring 1970, Hupeh Province mobilized 600,000 people to build the Hanpei water conservancy projects. They dug a 110-kilometre-long canal that is able to drain flood water at the rate of 2,000 cubic metres per second and a 30-kilometre-long tributary. They threw up dykes totalling 250 kilometres in length. Nearly 80 million cubic metres of earth and stone were moved. During heavy downpours and mountain floods in the Hanpei area last May and June, the new canal played a big part in saving the area from floods. The canal guarantees stable yields for more than 1,700,000 mu of farmland regardless drought or waterlogging. It also helped reclaim more than 300,000 mu of farmland.
 In line with Chairman Mao's great teaching: "Every county, district, township and agricultural co-operative can undertake small [water conservancy] projects," peasants throughout the country last year built many small reservoirs and dams, dug ponds, made terraced fields and drilled pump wells, all of them in line with the local conditions.  They paid attention to water storage and drainage and the use of surface and underground water. Thus flood, waterlogging, drought and alkaline soil problems were dealt with in a comprehensive way. On the North China Plain, Hopei, Shantung and Honan Provinces last year sank over one-fifth as many pump wells as the total sunk there in the previous two decades.

Great efforts have been made to erect more water turbine pumping stations and small hydroelectric power stations in the southern areas which abound in rivers and water resources. Construction of more than 8,000 small hydropower stations with a combined generating capacity of over 250,000 kilowatts started in Kwang-tung Province last year. Stations completed had a combined capacity of more than 50,000 kilowatts or 1.4 times the total of the small stations built there in the 17 years prior to the Great Cultural Revolution.
 After a few years' hard work in Loting County, once an arid and low-yielding mountain area in Kwang-tung, more than 600 water turbine pumping stations were built, valley-crossing aqueducts and siphons totalling more than 80 kilometres put up and over 100 electric pumping stations and a number of mountain ponds and reservoirs completed. Farm acreage giving stable yields irrespective of drought or waterlogging has increased by two-thirds since the start of the Great Cultural Revolution. Average per-mu rice yield in the county exceeded 800 jin for three years running.
 In many places people have given full play to the spirit of self-reliance and hard struggle in water conservancy construction. In setting up medium-sized and small projects the masses themselves raised the funds, made the equipment, acquired skills in the course of work and found locally available materials. They made the lime, cement and explosives needed for the projects themselves.
 In the past few years, Chinglung County, lying north of the Great Wall in Hopei Province, built dams exceeding 500 kilometres, dug ditches with a combined length of over 290 kilometres and built 45 small reservoirs, over 100 water turbine pumping stations and more than 200 small hydroelectric power stations. Over 90 per cent of the cost of these projects was raised by the county, communes and production brigades.
   In building water conservancy works, many areas relied on the masses to accomplish fairly complicated surveying, prospecting, designing and construction by indigenous methods. On their own, the revolutionary masses in Chiyuan County, Honan Province, built a project that diverts water from the Chinho River to the Mangho River basin to irrigate farmland. The 80-kilometre trunk canal winds around over 300 hilltops, goes through over 30 tunnels and crosses more than 200 aqueducts and culverts. The poor and lower-middle peasants surveyed and designed the whole project and made the cement and explosives and did the construction by themselves.
   The masses at different water conservancy work sites have learnt the fundamental experience of the poor and lower-middle peasants of the Tachai Brigade in arming themselves with Mao Tsetung Thought, deepened the mass movement for the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought and constantly promoted the revolutionization of their thinking. This is the fundamental guarantee for their important success in water conservancy work. Mao Tsetung Thought study classes have been widely organized to help the builders greatly raise their consciousness to build water conservancy projects for the revolution. Displaying the spirit of "fearing neither hardship nor death,” they have overcome all kinds of difficulties to achieve significant victories in transforming nature.
  


Source: Peking Review, No. 4, January 22, 1971
Transcribed by www.WENGEWANG.ORG

  
  
  

 
 
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