Why Geomembrane Testing Is Essential For Every Canal
Irrigation canals lined with geomembranes need to be tested for leaks no matter how tough the liner seemed when you installed it. Leaks may open up because of a sharp rock that you didn't see or because the liner is old and deteriorating as more water rushes over it. Integrity testing on a regular basis helps you find leaks before they let too much water disappear from the canal.
A Leak Can Siphon Water Away Even if the Water Is Moving
Water rushing down an irrigation canal toward a farm doesn't look like something that would stop for long enough to seep through a tiny tear in the liner. However, even if the water is moving fast, a little hole in the bottom of the irrigation canal liner can cause a problem and let water through. This is one reason why finding and fixing leaks is so important because, if you see the effects of a leak on the water in the canal, that means the leak has likely been there a long time, letting a lot of water escape. You just haven't noticed because the leak hasn't been very big until now.
The Bigger the Leak, the Higher the Chances of Allocation Problems
A tiny leak that diverts a drop or two of water each day may not seem like such a big deal. But those leaks can become bigger, allowing more water to seep out. And if one leak has started, there could be other areas of the liner that are weak and ready to pop open as well. As more and more of the water leaks through the openings in the liner, less and less water will make it to its end destination. If the water is allocated between different farms, for example, or even between different fields on one farm, losing that water to leaks means that there will be allocation problems the farther you go along the canal. The fields closer to the source of the water may get all the water they were supposed to get, while fields toward the end of the canal may end up with less water than planned.
That's Lost Water
Canals in areas where rainfall is on the lower side, and where snowmelt can be unpredictable, need to be able to deliver the water safely without losing too much of it. A lot already is lost to evaporation, so protecting the rest of the water is essential because if it's lost to leaks, it's not coming back. In areas grappling with drought, losing even a little to a leak can be frustrating. Testing the geomembrane liners of the canals in the area helps locate leaks before they become bigger and let a lot of water escape into the soil.
Liners in canals allow water to flow freely to farms and fields far away. If you've noticed that water in a canal seems to be disappearing faster than what evaporation usually takes away, have the liner tested to see if a leak has opened up.
Contact a local geomembrane liner integrity testing service to learn more.