Estimating Seepage Losses from Canal Systems

by Robert V. Worstell, Agricultural Engr.; Snake River Conservation Center, Kimberly, Idaho,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 1, Pg. 137-147

Document Type: Journal Paper


Canal seepage rates for broad soil textural groups were evaluated by analyzing results of 765 tests made in the western United States. Seepage rates varied widely within each broad texture class, but the average rates for all the classes ranged from 0.2 ft to 2.0 ft (0.06 m/day to 0.6 m/day). Seepage rates were less than 1.0 ft (0.3 m) per day in most tests. Average rates were similar, whether measured by ponding or by seepage meter. No significant linear regression was found between canal dimensions and seepage rates within any one soil texture group. Average seepage rates for lined canals ranged from 0.1 ft to 1.0 ft (0.03 m to 0.3 m) per day. Irrigation system designers and resource planners will find these average rates helpful in estimating seepage losses for existing or planned systems. Average rates also will be helpful in evaluating alternative improvements in water management, such as canal-lining programs, modernizing measurement and delivery methods, and installing computer-controlled automatic regulation of diversions and deliveries.

Subject Headings: Irrigation systems | Seepage | Canals | Soil analysis | Soil classification | Soil tests | Linear functions | Regression analysis | United States

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