Sun Shu Ao (circa 630 BC-593 BC), surnamed Mi (芈姓), was a native of Yingdu, Chu during the Spring and Autumn Period (now Ji Nan Cheng, Jing City, Hubei Province). Spring and Autumn period of the state of Chu magistrate Yin. He was a famous person in the history of water management.
More than 2,600 years ago, when the Huai River was flooded frequently, Sun Shu Ao presided over the water treatment and poured out all his family’s money. It took three years to build the first water conservancy project in China’s history, the Peony Pei (què bēi), which was used to drain the floods from the ancient channels of the Huai River and to build ponds to irrigate agriculture and mulberry for the benefit of the people of the Huai River. Later on, a large number of water conservancy projects were built, such as An Feng Tang, which is still functioning today after 2600 years. Sun Shu Ao was appreciated by King Zhuang of Chu, and began to assist him in governing the country.
Sun Shu Ao assisted King Zhuang in teaching the people, easing the punishment and slowing down the government, developing the economy and making remarkable achievements, advocating a people-oriented approach, stopping the war, resting and recuperating, making agriculture and commerce work together, and making culture prosperous and outstanding in Chu China. Due to his outstanding talent in water management, state administration and military affairs, Sun Shu Ao was later appointed as a magistrate and assisted King Zhuang to dominate the south, and King Zhuang became one of the five hegemons of Spring and Autumn Period. Sun Shu Ao died in his hometown at the age of 38 due to illness caused by accumulated labor.
In the thesis of life and death in “Mencius-告子-下”, it is stated that “Shun was born in the field and mu, Fu was raised between the plates and buildings, Jiao Li was raised in the fish and salt, Guan Yiwu was raised in the scholar, Sun Shu Ao was raised in the sea …… Then know born in worry and die in peace and happiness also”, Sima Qian “History – Chronicles of the Officials” listed him as the first person.