Canal Lining Projects

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Canals can lose 30 to 50 percent of their irrigation water through seepage. Traditional canal-lining materials typically include compacted earth, reinforced or unreinforced concrete, and (more recently) buried geomembranes. However, for some jobs, these materials are not always viable because they:

  1. are not locally available (such as compacted earth)
  2. are too expensive (such as reinforced concrete)
  3. require easy access for heavy construction equipment (such as slip-forming unreinforced concrete)
  4. require extensive overexcavation and subgrade preparation (such as buried geomembranes)

Canal-lining technologies can minimize seepage losses at reasonable costs. Does anyone have experience with the investigation of alternative canal-lining materials that are less expensive, easier to construct with limited access in recent years?

The Bureau of Reclamation Pacific Northwest Region, constructed over 30 test sections in several irrigation districts throughout the Pacific Northwest. The lining materials include combinations of geosynthetics, shotcrete, grout-filled mattrasses, soil, elastomeric coatings, and sprayed-in-place foam. Some test sections are almost ten years old.

TheirCanal Lining Program publishes several reports and updates on the implementation of various canal-lining materials: