Evaluation and Use of Alternative Sealants to Reduce Seepage Losses in Canals

Project ID: 485
Principal Investigator: John Osterberg
Research Topic: System Water Losses
Priority Area Assignments: 2011 (Climate Adaptation)
Funded Fiscal Years: 2011
Keywords: None

Research Question

Colorado State University will work with Reclamation as part of an effort to evaluate the effectiveness of applying bio-based sealants to reduce seepage losses from earthen canals in the Arkansas River Valley in Colorado. Such sealants have shown promise to substantially reduce
seepage rates and are much less expensive than traditional canal lining alternatives. Two different types of sealants will be tested: flocculants (like polysaccharide, or polysaccharidepolyacrylamide
compounds) and oil/water emulsions. The primary commercial products targeted for testing are CanalSentry (polysaccharide-polyacrylamide flocculant) manufactured by Innovium Corp. and ESS-13 (vegetable oil/water emulsion) manufactured by Seepage Control, Inc.

Need and Benefit

Reclamation has over 300 irrigation districts, and the majority of the districts have earthen lined canals. These canals lose large amounts of water during the irrigation season. Most districts don't have the repayment capability to line canals with concrete, membrane, or convert to pipe. Canal sealants show great promise at reducing seepage at a substantially lower cost. These products have the potential to save large amounts of water throughout the Western United States.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20