Effects of construction defects on hydraulic performance of Kalpani distributary, NWFP, Pakistan

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Abstract

The hydraulic performance of canals designed to deliver water by proportional allocation is highly dependent on the accuracy of construction of water division structures. If construction is inaccurate then inequity of water delivery is built into the system from the onset. A survey of hydraulic performance of Kalpnai distributary in NWFP Pakistan immediately after construction showed that the canal could only deliver 90% of designed discharge due to deficiencies in construction of two siphons, and that the tail end of the canal only received 70% of designed discharge. When operated at 70% of design discharge tail end reaches received 50% of designed discharge. Measurements of outlet structures showed that 57% of structures were built as intended and had not been damaged. All orifice outlets delivered more than 115% of design discharge and on average delivered 40% more than intended. Only 20% of open flumes were within 10% of design width, while 58% were more than 30% wider. As a result of these construction defects many watercourses were able to obtain much higher discharges than intended. The lack of control gates means there is no managerial remedy to redress the existing inequity. The only solution is to reconstruct a high proportion of outlet structures. Potential causes of poor construction are many, including lack of involvement of the agency responsible for subsequent operation, lack of dialogue with water users, and lack of accountability built into the project framework.

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