Seepage is one of the factors that can lead to approximately 30 to 40 percent of irrigation water loss in canals. Applying the right irrigation canal lining should help minimize the impact of seepage. The canal lining is the impermeable layer applied at the sides and at the bed of the canal to boost its discharge capacity and life. It may not completely eliminate water loss such as evaporation, but it can make a difference in reducing water losses to reduce the need to pump more water and minimize pumping costs. Unlined canals handling 30 to 150 liters per second of water may lose 10 to 15 percent of that flow due to weeds and seepage, making lining essential to save about 60 to 80 percent.
At times, the banks of the canal may be highly permeable, leading to water seepage causing standing water on nearby roads and fields, and waterlogged and extremely wet conditions. Hence, lining the canal can help solve these issues. Depending on the material used, the irrigation canal lining should be less permeable compared to when an original unlined bank. At times, the lining may be completely impermeable, too. While you have the option to use concrete lining, it can be 30 times more expensive compared to the upfront cost of high-quality liners. Hence, using canal liners can be a cost-effective way to line irrigation canals instead of relying solely on concrete.
Irrigation canal lining can help water move faster to its destination. Lining reduces the water’s resistance to flow, resulting in a higher velocity. Moreover, there will be less debris and deposits caused by erosion, especially when the surface is made of soil. Canal discharge occurs as the result of the velocity of the flow and the cross-section of the canal. Hence, a high velocity obtainable and allowable in the lined canal results in a smaller cross-section.
Likewise, it can be beneficial for agricultural applications when it reduces erosion, saves water, minimizes weeds, and reduces irrigation time. A surface lining can help reduce the need for maintenance in canals. This is because it prevents the growth of weeds and plants, and deters termites or rats, which may cause holes. Irrigation canal lining allows a higher velocity to prevent soil particles from accumulating and settling to cause siltation.
Choosing the right irrigation canal lining should be easy when you work with a professional. Find a reputable provider of geomembranes online that is known to carry a wide range of irrigation canal linings made with various high-quality materials. Some providers can customize a liner into a manageable size for your canal, too.