Restoration work on ancient water gate begins at Pingtung’s Hakka village

Accompanied by Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an (潘孟安), Director-General of the Pingtung County Department of Hakka Affairs Chen Li-ping (陳麗萍), and President of the Pingtung Irrigation Association Huang Hsin-ming (黃信茗), Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) Minister Lee Yung-de attended a launch ceremony of a water gate restoration at Wugoushui Village of Wanluan Township (萬巒鄉) in Pingtung County on Feb. 24.

Being 142 years old, the Wugoushui Water Gate No.1 is a sluice gate of the local irrigation canal. Its surrounding water territory is full of abundant aquatic plants, some of which are unique species in the community, including Hydrolea zeylanica, Ludwigia x taiwanensis Peng, water fern, and Pingtung limnophila.

HAC Minister Lee stated that the restoration work relies on the collaborative engagement of local residents and professionals, adding that the reconstruction plan not only aims to conserve the ecological system but also benefit the community development in Wanluan, as well as promote environmental awareness.

Lee further explained that the whole project includes the repair of the sluice gate and weirs, the construction of the hydrophyte conservation area and tourist trails, the protection of the riverbed, landscape beatification, and canal dredging. In addition, volunteer training courses will be open to townspeople, providing the opportunity for them to participate in the public affair, the minister added.

Lee also said that the culture of irrigation canals has been important part of Hakka heritage, and he hopes that, with concerted efforts from various fields, the goal of recovering the village’s natural environment and preserving the Hakka legacy will be achieved.

As one of key development areas of Hakka culture, there are approximately 19,000 Hakka people in Wanluan, which comprise about 52 percent of the total population of the township. The water gate project that focuses on ecological rehabilitation and cultural space construction also offers advice and guidance to those who take part in the task, converting Wugoushui Village into an epitome of Hakka settlements in the Liudui region. It is hoped that this community will be injected into new energy after the restoration of the historical water gate is completed.