CANAL FALL/DROP STRUCTURES
Necessity of Falls/Drops
A fall or drop is an irrigation structure constructed across a canal to lower down its water level and destroy the surplus energy liberated from the falling water which may otherwisescour the bed and banks of the canal.We know that the canal requires a certain slope, depending upon the discharge, toovercome the frictional losses. This slope may vary from 1 in 4000 for a discharge of about1.5 cumecs to about 1 in 8000 for a discharge of 3000 cumecs. This slope is, therefore, quiteflat in comparison to the available ground slope of an average value of 5 to 20 cm per kilometre length (i.e., 1 in 200 to 1 in 50 ). Thus the ground slope in nature is always verymuch steeper than the design bed slope of irrigation canal; based on the silt theories: If anirrigation canal, taking off from its head, is in cutting, it will soon meet with condition whenit will be entirely in embankment.If the canal is in embankment, the cost of construction and maintenance is very highand at the same time the percolation and seepage losses are excessive. Also, there is always adanger of the adjacent area being flooded if some cut or breach takes place in the canal banks.Hence, the canal should never be in high embankment. However, the divergence between thegentle bed slope of canal and the steep ground slope throws the canal in embankment after acertain distance though it started in cutting at its head. To overcome this difficulty, falls areintroduced at appropriate places, and the water surface of the canal is lowered. Arrangementsare made to dissipate the excess energy liberated from the falling water.
Location of Falls/Drops
The location of a fall is decided from the following considerations:1.
For the canal which does not irrigate the area directly, the fall should be located fromthe considerations of economy in cost of excavation of the channel with regard to balancing depth and the cost of the falls itself.2.
For a canal irrigating the area directly a fall may be provided at a location where theF.S.L. outstrips the ground level, but before the bed of the canal comes into filling.After the drop, the F.S.L of the canal may be below the ground level for ½ to ¼kilometre.3.
The location of the fall may also be decided from the consideration of the possibilityof combining it with a regulator or a bridge or any other masonry works.4.
A relative economy of providing large number of small falls vis small number of bigfalls should be worked out. The provision of small number of big falls results inunbalanced earth-work, but there is always some saving in the cost of the fallstructure.
Development of Falls/Drops
The ancient people always tried to avoid falls by aligning canals along zig-zag route in order to increase the length of the canal and thus dissipate the excess energy head in friction. TheEastern Yamuna Canal constructed by Mughal Emperors had no falls, and the canal, followeda sinuous path. The falls were first constructed by the British in India in the nineteenthcentury. The development of falls, since then, took place gradually. Among the earlier type of falls are: Ogee falls, rapids and stepped falls. Later, notch falls, vertical falls and glacis typefalls were developed.