Transformation during the construction of Lake Biwa Canal 3: Before the construction of the Lake Biwa Canal
3.1 Water Supply Plan before the Lake Biwa Canal
In fact, there are some water supply plans before the Lake Biwa Canal, while all of them were unsuccessful due to the technical problems. This section describes the historical materials regarding the plans to divert water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto prior to the actual plan of the Lake Biwa Canal.
For example, in 1841, Hikosuke, a farmer living in Saiou-ji Mibu area in Kyoto requested a water supply plan to the court of Kyoto.
(Water Supply Plan proposed in 1841)
3.2 Four Routes of Water ways
In general, there are totally 12 plans for supplying water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto before the Lake Biwa Canal and they can be analyzed into four types of routes showing in the below diagram, which are route A, B, C, D. The water supply plan proposed in 1841 can be categorized into the type C route. There are different technical problems explaining the fail reason of each routes.
A-route was older than the others by one hundred years, and its total distance for construction and for transportation was too long. B-route required super-long tunnel. Thus, it is supposed that both of these plans could not realized by the technology available in those days. As for the route C and D, the degree of grade from Lake Biwa to Kyoto based on the surveying data at the time of construction was too sharp for water systems.
Although all these routes were unaccessible at that time, these plans expressive of the inhabitants’ greatest wishes for the future, and show the city of Kyoto’s strong need for water from Lake Biwa and the strong social movement for its acquisition. They becomes the foundation of the birth of the Lake Biwa Canal.