Literature Review of Secondary Effects to Ecosystems and Water Supply of Canal Lining

Project ID: 1723
Principal Investigator: Leah Meeks
Research Topic: Repair and Maintenance
Funded Fiscal Years: 2017
Keywords: None

Research Question

Reclamation and its customers maintain thousands of miles of canals. Canal lining is a common tool classified as a water conservation measure and it is used as part of maintenance programs to reduce seepage and/or reduce annual maintenance. Depending on the location, it is possible for a canal to seep as much as 50% of its conveying water. Canal lining projects that reduce seepage are potentially decreasing the amount of water that was previously available to other uses such as groundwater return flows that support base flows in rivers that are relied upon by some ecosystems or drain flows that are relied upon by surface water users. These effects are not typically evaluated because the groundwater or ecosystem may not have a legal right to that water. Reclamation is an agency whose evolving role is managing a variety of water resources and the environmental impacts of those management decisions. This research project will be a literature review into how the overall water supply and ecological systems are affected by seepage reduction through canal lining, and will become the starting point for future research projects into the secondary impacts of seepage reduction.

Need and Benefit

Need
A literature review is needed to frame how ecological and groundwater impacts have been addressed on previous projects and methods for quantifying and mitigating those impacts. This work supports the Canal Infrastructure Sustainability and Groundwater-Surface Water Interaction research roadmaps.
Benefit
Reclamation does not have a standard rule for how to address the environmental effects of canal lining region to region. This project would coalesce work done throughout Reclamation to define a range of actions that may lead to a more standardized approach. Conjunctive use (co-management of surface and groundwater) laws vary in the Reclamation's 17 western states. This review would also look at how states require action and investigation into canal lining's groundwater effects for the application of Reclamation resources.
Urgency
As water gets more scarce and micro-managed, Reclamation needs to have the knowledge and ability to understand and address a variety of water management practices. Research into understanding these secondary effects puts Reclamation at an advantage to be on the forefront of environmental and water resources stewardship.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Literature Review of Secondary Effects to Ecosystems and Water Supply of Canal Lining (final, PDF, 341KB)
By Leah Meeks
Research Product completed on September 30, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Literature Review of Secondary Effects to Ecosystems and Water Supply of Canal Lining (final, PDF, 341KB)
By Leah Meeks
Research Product completed on September 30, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17