Reducing Canal Seepage through Long-Term Performance Linings
What are the best practices for canal lining deployment and repair given Reclamation's inventory of diverse irrigation water-delivery canal systems?
Since the completion of a 2002 canal lining study, Reclamation has applied limited resources to advancing the use of state-of-the-art lining methods and materials to reduce seepage. While the scale of the seepage water loss is difficult to quantify, the scope of the consequences of seepage includes economic, legal, environmental/ecological, and safety considerations. Given significant differences in canal length, width, flowrate, and construction (i.e., lined or unlined) plus substantial differences in climate, elevation, ground character, etc., emphasis will be placed on the identification of overarching principles and factors that can be applied in making canal-specific recommendations.
Need and Benefit
Reclamation's Research Roadmap (Technical Memo MERL-2014-54) recognizes the attainment and implementation of "improved, less-expensive canal lining, cover, and repair materials and methods" as one of the highest priority needs for Reclamation's canal inventory. Two of the other six priorities also relate to placement and repair of canal linings.
Reduced uncontrolled seepage losses
Longer-lasting and lower-cost lining options
Reduced repair/maintenance and lost-water costs
Enhanced ecological stewardship in localized canal environments
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