Date of Award:

1951

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Biological and Irrigation Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

O. W. Israelsen

Abstract

With population, industry, and irrigation ever increasing in the arid west, there arises new and greater demands for water. Much of the water now urgently needed is lost as seepage from the many miles of canals in the western states. Rohwer and Stout have estimated that in the western states from one-third to one-half of the water diverted for irrigation is lost before it reaches the farmers' fields. Of these losses, seepage probably accounts for the greatest loss. It is reported by the Bureau of Reclamation that, of the 14,600,000 acre feet of water diverted on 36 projects in 1946, twenty-three percent was lost by seepage from canals and laterals. The loss of water by canal seepage not only is a waste of one of the greatest, most urgently needed natural resources, but in many areas may cause high water tables which necessitate drainage for continued use of the land for agriculture. In the early days of irrigation little thought was given to conservation of water, especially through prevention of canal seepage. Though today the problem of seepage is much more recognized, very little-as compared with expansion of irrigation-has been done toward prevention of canal seepage losses. The Lewiston Area, bound on the east, west and south by Cub and Bear Rivers and on the north by the Utah-Idaho State line has been confronted with a high water table and inadequate drainage for many years. Because of the peculiar geologic formation of the area, natural drainage is poor. williams, Maughan, and Israelsen state that the water table is not only fed by irrigation water, but also by excessive seepage from canals. Since the water table is within three feet of the surface in many areas, the influence of seepage from canals has been of great concern. The major objective of investigations made was to obtain information as to the extent of canal seepage losses in the Lewiston Area, Utah.

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