International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
Mannheim, Germany - September 2001
Rainwater Catchment in Agriculture
Plastic-lined Canal for Environment Protection: Multi-Use Canal
Luciano Cordoval de Barros
Embrapa Milho e Sorgo, Sete Lagoas
Over 20 percent of the Brazilian territory is an extensive region called
Central Brazil, with approximately 2,000,000 km2 (the "cerrados"
area). The soils are predominantly porous with intake rates above 50 mm/h.
It is necessary to line canals impermeable in order to use them to: a)
conduct water for irrigation, animal and domestic consumption, and fishery;
b) conduct wastewater from farm animal operations and from urban and industrial
treatment facilities. The project was constructed in the Calciolandia
farm, Arcos county, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The canal has a length
of 2.5 km, width of 5 m, depth of 0.8m. Lining is made with common plastic
sheets 200 microns thick, 6, 8, 10 or 12 m width, 100 m long, easily available
in the market. This type of lining has shown a lot of advantages compared
to other special lining sheets since it is cheap and easy to construct.
Besides, it requires no more than a wheel-loader machine to do the field
work. It is important to mention that the plastic sheets need to be covered
by a 20 to 25 cm thick layer of soil in order to fix them in place and
to protect against sun radiation and animal traffic. The slopes of the
canal should be gentle, not exceeding a 30 percent grade. A good balance
between slopes and depth determine the width of the canal. The grade of
length must be gentle, a maximum of 1.0 m/km.
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