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CANAL STRUCTURES

1. Canal Structures is usually applied to all structures necessary in connection with the canal, aside from the
earthen waterway itself, and its lining, which may be classified as follows:
1. Works for controlling canal water
a. Headworks
b. Turnouts.
c. Spillways
d. Drops and checks
e. Measuring devices
2. Drainage crossings.
a. Flumes, and superpassages
b. Inverted siphons.
c. Culverts
d. Pipes
3. Highway crossings

2. Location of Headworks.- First requirement for a suitable diversion point is a performance of the stream channel.
Preferably both sides of the stream should be rock or hard gravel not easily eroded. It is desirable that the ground in
which the first few rocks of the canal is built should be of firm material. The diversion works should be located so far
as physical conditions will permit. The location should permit of the construction of regulating works parallel to the
stream. It is always desirable to secure rock foundation for the diversion weir, but if this is impracticable, a safe dam
can be built by taking proper precautions, upon gravel, sand silt or clay.

3. Canal Headgates.- Every canal should have one or more headgates so located that the quantity of water admitted to
the canal shall be at all times under control. On streams carrying sediment or transporting sand or gravel, means
should be provided for preventing the entrance to the canal of sand and gravel likely to deposit and clog the canal.
To accomplish these three precautions may be employed:

1. The stream velocity may be reduced before entering the canal, thus causing the settlement of the
heaviest particles in suspension.
2. The water entering the canal may be required to flow in a thin sheet over the top of a long weir so
that only the surface water can enter the canal, as the surface carries only the lightest sediment.
3. Means should be provided for sluicing the deposited sand away from the headworks, and causing it
to pass on downstream.

The entrance to the canal should be controlled by flash boards or some similar device so arranged that the
water will flow into the canal as thin film from the surface only, and thus carry on a skimming process.
Flashboards, though cheap, are slow and laborious in manipulation, and except on very silty streams, the
practice is usually to use ordinary iron gates as regulators.
Headgates are usually, therefore, of the ordinary type, which open at the bottom by raising on the stem, and are
sometimes called undershot gates, because water passes under the them.
The headworks of a large canal are of great importance for protecting the canal against floods, and for
regulating the flow into the canal. They should be founded upon rock if possible, and should be of masonry of gravity
design.
They should be flanked with ample wing walls and unless founded on rock should have deep cut-off walls to
prevent seepage around or under them.
4. Turnouts.- Each lateral branch from the main canal and all the sublaterals down to the individual farm laterals,
should be provided with regulators. They are similar in function to the regulator at the head of the main canal, but
differ widely from it, not only in size. But in not being required withstand the torrents of the river, and instead of
keeping out of sediment, should facilitate its passage through the system and its deposit upon the land. They are
consequently of the undershot type, so as to stop as little of the sediment as may be.
Turnouts are usually located in an artificial bank of a canal, and must be carefully designed and built with a view
to preventing the percolation of water around them.
They must be provided with wingwalls with earth carefully puddle against them. The tendency of percolating
water is to follow in straight or nearly straight lines the seam formed by the contact of the structure with the bank, and
this tendency can be best met by providing numerous abrupt angles to interrupt the path around the structure.
The similar turnouts are often in the form of a box or pipe leading through the bank, with a gate on the upper
end. Turnouts should be located at or near the bottom of the canal from which they take water, in order that a supply of
water may be drawn when the canal is running at part capacity.
In early canal building most of the structures where made of wood, and this is still common practice with the small
lateral turnouts, which can be replaced with little interference with the water service. All large turnouts which serve
important areas, and require considerable time for renewal, should be built of concrete or other permanent
construction.

5. Canal Spillways.- Any large canal system must a safety be provided with a number of spillways in order to discharge all
the water, when it becomes necessary to quickly to empty the canal in case of a break or a threatened break.
The break of large canal discharging its great volume of water across the country, may be very disastrous,
especially if a canal is on a side hill above the country threatened, or where the torrent across valuable improved lands.
Sometimes these conditions are aggravated by treacherous materials in which the canal is built, in which case the need
of adequate spillways is greater. This need is also emphasized where the canal receives considerable local drainage into
its prism, and in case of abnormal rains may occasionally have its capacity overtaxed.
A large canal is usually provided with a permanent weir in its lower bank immediately below the headgate, the
crest of the weir being placed at the elevation of normal water surface of the canal so as to discharge any water that
may enter the canal in excess of its normal capacity. Such a spillway will not discharge any considerable quantity of
water until the water stands considerably above its lip, and though the discharge increases with the rise of the water
surface, it does not prevent such rise. The longer the weir, the less the rise it permits.
A large is located in rock other firm material, or in a good soil protected by grass sod on very gentle slope,
spillways are often provided by so locating the canal that the water surface of the full canal will be just even with the
natural ground level on the downhill side, and omitting may bank for a considerable distance. Care must be taken to
prevent centration of the water where it would cause damage. A spillway cost practically nothing, and affords important
protection to the canal against overtopping of banks where breaks would be the result. Every large canal should be
provided with one or more wasteways through which the canal can be safely and quickly emptied in the case of a break.
One such wasteway should be located every 10 or 20 miles according to the needs.
At the head of the wasteway, if possible, the bottom of the canal should be depressed several feet below the
regular grade of the canal and the sill of the spillway gates should be at the lowest part of the depression. In case the
anal is heavily silt-laden, it may be advisable to widen as well as deepen the canal at the head of the wasteway.
A wasteway located within a short distance below the head of the canal at a point near the river may be so
arranged that when opened it will produce a scouring velocity in the canal clear back to the headgate, and be made very
effective in ridding the canal of accumulation of gravel, sand and silt.
The gates of the wasteway should be of the same type that can be quickly opened, as they are primarily for
emergency use.

6. Checks, Drops and Chutes.- Structures in which the surplus grade can be concentrated, and the canal transferred from a
higher to a lower elevation without injury to the canal are called drop and may be either be vertical or inclined. In the
former, the water falls freely, while an inclined drop is one in which the water is carried down an inclined pipe, channel
or chute, protected against erosion by some form of lining.
A Check is a bulkhead in a canal designed to hold the water above it at a higher level than it would otherwise
stand. It may be desired at all times to maintain the water level above the check at a higher level than below it, in which
case the check performs also the function of a drop. Even when the channel is straight, slight obstructions or
inequalities of material will cause a tendency to meander, and to undermine banks on the outside of the curves.
Cases occur where the alinement of the canal is straight, and where rock, shale, hardpan, or other indurated
material occurs a short distance below the surface, that will resist erosion, and maybe utilized to save expense in the
provision of structures and their subsequent maintenance.

7. Protection Against Erosion.- The tendency to erosion arises from the three main causes:
1. The impact of the water on the bottom of the canal as it falls from the higher to lower level. This usually
requires some sort of paving.
2. The increased velocity generated by the surplus fall, which if not somehow checked will persist for some
distance down the canal and erode its banks. This maybe counteracted by providing a stilling pool at the
foor of the drop with depressed bottom and larger section than the regular prism of the stream, in which
the energy is dissipated in surges and eddies, and from which the water flows away at normal velocity.
3. The waves produced by the commotion of the falling water, and which generally persist for some distance
down the canal in spite of elaborate control of the velocity of the water. This generally requires paving or
other protection of the bank.
The amount and character of protection necessary depends upon the quantity of water falling, the mount of the
fall, and the character of the material in which the drop occurs.
In some cases it is necessary to carry the water down a long slope requiring either a series of drops or a long
chute, consisting of a lined channel with a stilling basin at the bottom.
The inclined drop or chute consists essentially of an inlet structure, a trough to conduct the water down the hill,
and a pool at the bottom to receive the water and destroy its accumulated energy.
8. Drainage Crossings.- Where a canal location intercepts a natural drainage line or torrent, as it is sometimes called.
There re four possible methods of dealing with such problems, each of which is suitable to a certain class of cases.
1. The drainage may be received into the canal, in cases it is small in amount and canal is large.
2. The canal may be carried over the drainage channel in a flume, or upon an embankment provided with a
culvert through which the drain water passes under the canal.
3. The canal may be carried under the ravine in an inverted siphon or pressure pipe, or the drainage may be
conducted over the canal in a broad flume called superpassage.
4. The drainage may be intercepted by a diversion dam and canal and conducted along and parallel to the
canal, to a point where sufficient drainage is concentrated to justify the provision of one of the structures
above mentioned. Cases sometimes occur where the collection of drainage water is one of the important
functions of a canal, the object being to increase the water supply above that otherwise available.
In all cases the drainage to be admitted should be carefully estimated, especially as to its probable maximum volume,
and provision made for such maximum with a considerable margin of safety.
9. Flumes.- The drainage line intercepted is in a ravine or canyon of moderate depth, but well below the grade of the
canal, the latter may be carried across in a flume. This may best be of concrete, especially if very large, but on
account of the high cost of the concrete structure, flumes are more often built of steel, upon wooden trestles, or
entirely of wood. The most common form for wooden flumes is a rectangular box, and should provide for a water
depth of about half the width. For same reason, the inside of the flume must be made as smooth as possible. The
flume must be constructed that it is firmly held against the tendency to spread which will develop when filled with
water.
Steel Flumes.- Closely similar to the circular wooden flume supported on wooden trestles.

10. Culverts.- Where the grade of the canal is high enough to permit its passage over the intercepted drainage
channel, and the volume of the torrent to be intercepted is not too great, the canal may be carried across in an
earth fill, and the drainage water carried through the fill in a cast-iron pipe, or if too great for this, in a concrete
conduit.

11. Pipes.- The use of pipe for conveying and distributing water for domestic use is nearly universal, and it has the
important virtues of cleanliness, convenience, and economy of water.
The material for construction may be cast iron, sheet steel or iron, wood, reinforced concrete, vitrified
clay, or cement.
Wood pipe is the most widely used pipe for irrigation, but the use of concrete is increasing, as it becomes
better known and the cost of wood increases.
Continuous stave pipe is built in place of staves carefully milled from selected lumber, to have concentric
circular surfaces and radial edges.
Wire-wound wooden pipe is made in joints of convenient length, by placing the staves in the position
desired, and binding them firmly in that position by winding heavy wire around them in spiral form.
Reinforced concrete pipe may be manufactured in place by means of portable forms, and good results
have been obtained in this way.
Steel pipe is often used for heads exceeding to 60 feet, but is seldom economical for less head. It is
commonly formed by curving a sheet steel till the edges lap, and riveting them in that position. Another and more
efficient method of riveting is to wind the steel in a spiral and fasten the spiral lap seam by a single row of rivets.
The smaller sizes of steel pipes are formed by welding the longitudinal seams instead of riveting, and are
joined by screwing the ends into exterior sleeves made to fit.
Lock-bar pipe has the longitudinal joint formed by upsetting the edges of the plate, and inserting them in
grooves of a bar which are then closed by hydraulic pressure.
The use of small pipe in distributing irrigation water is rapidly growing as more water becomes more
valuable, and the means of the irrigators grow. Where this is simply a substitution for open ditches it is customary
to employ cement pipe, which can be manufactured in place by machines used for the purpose.

12. Tunnels.- Where the canal location must leave the contour grade line in order to avoid a long detour around a
ridge or hill, or to escape a hazardous location on its steep slopes, it may pass through the hill in a deep cut, or if
this is too deep, may tunnel through. Whether a cut or tunnel is to be preferred depends mainly upon the depth of
cut and the character of material, and is chiefly a question of cost.
In a majority of cases tunnels require lining to prevent caving or swelling of the material in which they are
built, and in many instances where this is not the case lining may be advisable to present smoother surfaces to the
flowing water, reduce the friction and thus increase the capacity. A small tunnel with good smooth concrete lining
will discharge nearly twice as much water as one with rough rock interior of the same dimensions and grade.
It is best to leave about a foot of vacant air space above the water in any tunnel, to prevent waves or any
chance obstruction from causing the water to touch the top of the tunnel, and thus causing it to seal.
It is generally advisable to construct the top of a tunnel in the form of an arch. This shape has tendency to
resist caving of the top and gives the maximum holding power to any lining that may be provided. It also provides
an air space that is effectual against sealing without sacrificing much cross-section for this purpose. The sides of
the tunnel are generally straight vertical lines, and the bottom a straight horizontal line, or a slight curve concave
upward.
The equipment and operations for tunnel construction vary widely. They depend chiefly upon the
character of material and the length of the tunnel.
Tunnel work at best is quite slow. The length of a tunnel not only increases the time of construction but
greatly increases the unit cost.
A long tunnel must also be provided with ventilation.
The most difficult tunnel work, however, is where the material to be penetrated is running sand which
requires close tight timbering to prevent enormous caves and filling of the tunnel with loose sand.
Tunneling is a highly developed specialty, requiring or economical and efficient prosecution a high degree
of a skill in the use of explosives.

13. Highway Crossings.- In general it is necessary to provide highway bridges where irrigation canals cross public
highways in use at the time the canals are constructed. Crossing of railways established after the canal is built
should be at the expense of the railway, and should be of the same character and margin safety as those built at
the expense of the canal authorities.

14. Sand Traps.- The frequent presence of sand in canals where it is often a serious nuisance, requires the
employment of devices by which it may be removed and these are variously called, sand traps, sand boxes, sand
gates, and sluicing devices.
The objections to sand in the gravel are several:
a. It tends to deposit in siphons near the inner bank on curves, and at other points where the velocity is checked or
eddies occur, and to form bars which reduce the capacity of the canal, and cause much annoyance and expense in
their removal.
b. Sand occurring in water carried through siphons, flumes, or lined channels at high velocities, has a tendency to wear
such channels, or other structures subject to the abrasion of the sand.
c. Sand occurring in water to be used for power causes rapid wear and destruction of water wheels.
d. Where sand is successfully carried through the canal system to the farm, which is difficult to accomplish, it soon fills
the farm distributaries, and as it contains very little fertility it is a nuisance without redeeming benefits.
e. Sediments of all kinds and sizes carried in feed canal to a reservoir tend to fill the reservoir and destroy its storage
capacity.
The measures available for combating the sand nuisance may be divided into two classes, one of which is
essentially preventive and the other curative.
1. Processes of settling, sluicing and skimming the water so as to prevent the entrance of sand into the canal. These are
preventive measures.
2. Processes of settling the sediments in basins or depressions in the canal system, and sluicing them back into the
stream, or into the other drainage lines.