Wenjia Gully View
On day 6 (Wednesday) we had the privilege to visit the Wenjia Gully which is located a couple hours outside of Chendgu. This gully is home millions of cubic meters of land/rock debris that is being fed from loose debris from 3 higher branches. All of this debris became loose during the the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. During the wet season, this material causes devastating land debris flows that have impacted the surrounding community. To mitigate this risk, 5 separate check dams have been designed and installed to stop the flow and allow for it to be safely manually removed from behind the dams.
Matching SUV fleet that took us all over the mountains
To visit we were provided a fleet of 6 SUVs from Chengdu University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. Our drivers were able to drive us to the highest, and in my person opinion coolest, dam known as dam #5. As you can see in the photos below, it is massive, raw, innovative, and way up in the gully. This is such a significant check dam because it has grates in locations to drain the water out of the debris. The water is drained from the debris flow and sent to the bottom of the mountain through a tunnel that leads to the other side of the mountain.. Taking out the water factor makes the mass of material much less likely to continue down the gully.
Grates for water to drain out of the debris flowConnection point of the draining grates (right) and the tunnel (left) leading to the other side of the mountain
Check Dam #5 (Fernando is sitting on the lower culvert 6th from the right for size perspective)
From what we learned this system has been very successful and it was so cool to explore a beautiful piece of civil engineering up in rural Chinese mountains!