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Optional comment: Need to clarify whether there are valid reasons to build canals today (seems unlikely, in most settings) - perhaps by a quantitative comparison of transport costs. Needs more details of environmental effects, both positive and negative.
Value of canals
Method of digging canals
- First of all, a canal needs to be dug between rivers, or between different parts of the same river, based on various factors. Lying close to each other is an advantage, but the key is where the intended funciton of the canal (transport or water supply) is needed.
- One of the most expensive things in building a canal are the locks, since these need to be build precisely and by using strong materials (ie concrete, steel). Eliminating this need is thus vital to keep the canal cheap.
- Instead of using concrete for the borders, the canal can simply kept entirely built from soil. This is done by simply digging out the canal precisely (ie using crane shovels, ...), and by fixating the soil. Fixation can be done using (organic) netting and plants. It is important to also not dig the soil off straight down, but rather on a slope.
Leakage affects the water table; leakage and evaporation cause loss of water.