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a reprint

the D.I.D.





chapter on Irrigation

The purpose of





to give

some background knowledge

and information

on irrigation





Some of

the material

in this

reprint needs

to be updated


the reader



to consult

the Planning

and Design Branches,



or refer

to the books

listed in





field of


for the


standard practices

Pusat Latihan Kakitangan, Jabatan Parit dan Tali Air, Ampang.





111 --
Irr~gatlonRequ~rementsfor R~ceCultivation
General Descrlptlon of an Irrigation System
1 111
Irrigation System, General
Water to Rice Land
Appl~cationof Water to the Land for Crop
other than Rice
lrr~gat~onSystem. Narrow Valley
Distribution by Batas
Irrigation System. Flat Land
Tanjong Karang
Irrigation System. Kubang Pasu Section
Irrigation System. Sungai Manik and Trans
lrrigation System. Pahang Paya .
Irrigation System. Crops other than Rice
lrrlgation System. Proposed Layout
Direct Rainfall
Surface Water
Ground Water
Trans Perak River lrrigatlon Scheme Intake at
Lambor Kiri
14th Mile Terachl Irrigation Scheme General
Plan of Headworks
Automatic Bear Trap Gate
Bukit Merah Reservoir
Details of Pedu Dam and Muda Dam
Pumping Station. Pinang Tunggal
Pumping Station. Sungai Nerus
Pumping Station, Pekula
Control Gate. Paya Sg. Leng .
Canal Controls
1IIV '111
21IV 'I11
3blIV '111
Dimensions of Field Channels .
Percolation Gradient
Canal With Berm
Canal Without Berm
Overshot Control
Undershot Control



Arrangement of Canal Control





Bifurcation Canal










Weir Crest Level and Length



The We~rStructure



Surface Flow and Energy Dissipation



Percolation Pressures.

Sediment Exclusion and Ejection

Uplift and Exit Gradients

Applicability of


Principles to Other Types of Strwture

Bed Sediment Move Curve Hydraulic Jump Longitudinal Section of Weir

Diagram Connecting HL. & Ef2 Curves for Determining Ef2

Curves for Predicting Depth of Trough

Energy of Flow Curves Stage Discharge Curve for Weirs

Diagram for Designing Downstream Apron and Wing Wap Rehbock Sill Floor Block


Downstream "Onion"

Wing Walls Proportions of Inlet Flares and Upstream Floor Flow Nets. Weir with Length but no Depth Flow Nets. Pile Line with Depth only

Weir with Floor and

Flow Nets. Weir with

FIow Net . Weir with Floor


Stream Tube Exit Gradient Curve

Percnlat~onPressure Diagram No Surface Flow







Wing Wall Splays


Pile Line

Flow, Nets


Floor and


Downstream Pile Line

Pile Line at



Each bnd

Pressure Curve


Clay Lens Below Structure ' Cause of Collapse of Rubble Weirs Bernam River Headworks Silt Exculder


Diagram ' with

Surface Flow













1. Irrigation 1s defined as the artificial application of water to soil for the

?urpose of supplying moisture essential to plant growth.

2. Rice is the only crop which is migated on a large scale In Malaya at present. On a small scale. vegetables are irrigated, generally by means of watering cans. Also on a small scale, maize has been irrigated at times. There is no doubt that larger scale irrigation of cr'ops other than rice would be beneficial in Malaya. ~ndin due course such irrigation will almost certainly come.

3. Tradltlonally in Malaya, rice is sown In nurseries, and the seedlings are

planted out into flooded rice fields when they are about 6 weeks old. Before planting out, the fields are prepared by successive ploughings and puddling. The rice grows In standing water. preferably about 3 inches to 6 inches in depth. till the gram is ripenmg. A1 this stage the water is drained off, and harvesting is done in the dry. 'Thus it is necessary to irrigate from one to two months before planting tat until shortly before the harvest.

4. While it is evident that rice is tolerant to standing water and waterlogged

sod. it is not proved that these conditions ate best for the growth of the plant. Standing water is. however. the best method of weed control. and until some other ratisfactory control method IS found, rice will continue to be grown in standing water.

5. Crops other than rice are not tolerant to standing water and waterlogged

9011, and will suffer or die ~f there is too much water in the soil. They will suffer

also if not enough water in the soil is available to the plant. Hygroscopic water IS not available to the plant. Capillary water is available. Water in excess of what can be held by capillary action is harmful to the plant. If the soil is well drained, excess water will quickly drain away. But if it cannot drhin away, the plant will suffer. The aim of irrigation for crops other than rice is. by repeated applications of small quantities of water. to keep the moisture content of the soil within the capillary range. Care is taken to avoid over-irrigation. as this may raise the water table unduly and thus prevent free drainage of the soil. Also, over-irrigation is uneconomical of water.

6. In the process of growth, a plant uses watet by transpiration. That is to

say, it draws water from the soil and releases it to the atmosphere by evaporation from its leaves. The rate of transpiration depends on the crop. the density of planting, the state of growth, the temperature, the humidity and the wind. Not

very much is known about transpiration of rice. but it should be imderstood that he amount of water c~mumedin this way is not negligible by any means. To emphasise this point, it is noted here that at the period of maximum rate of transpiration, some crops transpire in a month a quantity of watet equivalent to a depth over the uholr cultivated area exceeding 6 inches. During the period of growth, the rate of transpiration rises from a minimum. which may be very small, to a maximum, and then falls back to a minimum. In due course, more will be learned about transp~rationfrom rice, as a result of work to be done at the new soils-moisture research station of the Agricultural Department at Tanjong Karang.

Irrigation water is also

7. The






the plant.

by evaporation from the ground or free water-surface, deep percolation, lateral percolation, surface losses, transpiration by weeds.

For rice, evaporation losses from the free water surface are unavoidable. For

other crops, evaporation can be reduced by sutface treatments, such as mulching. Rate of evaporation depends on temperature, wind and humidity, and is variable.

Deep percoiation and

the soil and the thoroughness of preparation before planting. Normally they are small, as rice is planted usually only on the heavy and tather impermeable soils. For other crops, percolation losses are avoided by avoiding over-irrigation. Surface losses are avoided by good irrigation practice. And transpiration losses from weeds are avoided by weeding.

latetal percolation losses for

rice depend on the nature of

8. The total amount of water required in any given period is the total of the

water used and the losses. Evidently it varies from month to month, and the amount of irrigation water to be supplied varies still further, conversely as the

rainfall; for the more rain there is, the less irrigation water is required.

9. Maximum demand for crops other than rice must obviously depend on

the crops gown; but over a whole month, the maximum demand of an area planted to crops other than rice is likely to be less than the maximum demand for an equal rice area.

10. Assuming that duting periods of maximum demand, irrigation proceeds

at a steady average rate within the area, the capacity of the main supply line to the area will be fixed normally by the maximum demand. (In rare cases where it is requited to store storm water by deep flooding of the agricultural land itself, the main line may be larger than is necessary for maximum demand.) The sum of the capacities of the waterways which make up the distribution system will usually be substantially in excess of the maximum demand, however, for-as will be explained later-irrigation may not proceed at an even pace throughout

the area.

11. Where the source of supply is a river without benefit of appreciable impounding, maximum demand must not exceed the normal dry weather flow of the river in the months when maximum demand can be expected. If maximum demand for the proposed scheme is greater than rivet flow, then obviously the scheme must be reduced in size. It is during the driest weather that irrigation is most required. and an irrigation scheme is useless if it fails at the crucial moment. When planning a scheme, it is necessary to study carefully the discharge hydro- graph of the river from which water is to be drawn, for as long a period as possible, and to make sure that the demands of the scheme will not be excessive. Whete data for drawing the hydrograph are available for only a small number of years, these data must be considered in conjunction with longer term rainfall data. An intelligent estimate may then be made of low flow during dry years.

12. For pumping schemes, maximum demand will determine the capacity

of the pumping units. It is usual nowadays to instal three identical units, and-in determining their capacity-it is assumed that they will all be serviceable at times

of maximum demand, due allowance being made of course for the number of hours pet day during which there can be pumping. For example, electrically operated stations use off-peak power at a special rate, and can operate normally only 18 hours per day.

13. For a reservoir scheme, maximum demand does not fix the capacity of

the reservoir. Evidently this must be fixed after oonsideration of total annual demand and losses, the hydrograph of the river supplying the reservoir and so on.

14. The term "duty" is often used to indicate the number of acres served

by 1 cusec of imgation water, or alternatively the number of acres which 1 cum should serve. Without qualiilcation, the term is rather nebulous, and it is necessary

to state clearly what is meant in any given case. For example, one might state that the tequired duty for rice cultivation in a certain area during a certain month was so many acres per cusec.


While "duty" IS quite a useful conception in considering area irrigated

In relation to size of stream. it is often more convenient to consider water requite-

ments in terms of equivalent depth of water to be applied to the field in a certain period. For example. it might be stated that rice in a cettaid area required a total of 19, inches of water during a certain month of the year. of which rainfall

could be

irrigation s!stem.

It 1s convenient when thinking in these terms. to be able to

-upply 3 inches. leaving 9 inches to be supplied by the

convert flow is) depth per month. and it is pointed out that 1 cusec flowing for I2 hours will give almn*t exactly. a depth of 1 ft. of water on I acre. That is to

-a!. 1 acre foot of water.

Thus I cusec flowing for a month of 30 days will give

60 acre feet l\f water. So it is seen that a "duty" of 60 acres per cusec corresponds to an equivalent depth of water in one month of 12 inches. Similarly 15 inches

depth per month corresponds to a duty 48 acres per cusec.

relied on tcb




16. The Drainage and Irrigation Department carried out studies to assess the water requlremenb !'or rice cultivation in Malaya during 1960 1961 in two schemes. bj measuring the inflow. rainfa!!. and the outflow from padi fields throughout the growing period.

17. These studies were extended to 6 schemes and results computed by an FA0 team comprising of Professor G. A. W. Van de Goot and G. Zijlstra during 1961 - 1963 and a report prepared for the Government in 1963. FA0 teport Vo. 1671.

18. The recommended water duties for rice cultivation for single and double

cropping are tabled below: --


Double Cropping System





a. Presaturation period 40 days




b. Normal itrigation period





a. Presaturation period 40 days

Normal irrigation period









Single Cropping S.wtem

a. Presaturation






b. Normal irrigation period









19. The objects and general requirements of itrigation have been considered

In the foregoing. The object of the irrigation system is to meet these requirements.

The system and its parts are considered in the following.

20. First let us look at an irrigation scheme as a whole and name its

principal parts. Fig. 1 11111 shows a hypothetical scheme in which the area to be irrigated is shown hatched. The souice of supply (in this case) is a river. Water

from the river is backed up by a weir (or by a gate-controlled weir which is called a "barrage") and diverted through a head regulator into the main canal ~f the scheme. The weir or barrage. together with the head regulator. is called the headworks.

21. Water is conveyed to the area to be irrigated by means of the main

canal, which may divide into branch canals, each branch feeding a different part of the area. The branch canals may supply feeder canals, each of which supplies a number of distributary canals, or it may supply directly to the distributaries. The distributaries supply water to the field channels, and it is normally from the


field channels that water is supplied to the surface of the land. There is not always

a clear distinction between the various classes of canal. and some may be omitted

altogether. In a very small scheme there may be one canal only, which serves all purposes. Usually it is inadvisable to pass water to the field except from a field channel. as any other practice results in maintenance difficulties and loss of water control.

22. Broadly speaking, canals can be divided into two classes: those concerned primarily with conveying water to the areas to be irrigated, and those concerned with distributing it over the areas to be imgated. The former do not need to flow above ground level, whereas obviously the latter must "command" the land to be irrigated, or it will be impossible for the water to pass from the canal to the land. Distributaries and field channels fall into the "distribution" category. The main, branch and feeder canals falls into the "conveyance" category.

23. At the headworks, water in the river is backed up to a level which is

lower than bank level. Consequently, the hydraulic gradient of the conveyance canals must be flatter than the slope of the land, in order that command may be obtained at the head of the area to be irrigated. This, in fact, is usually the reason for the substantial length of the main or branch canals.

24. At all canal divisions and at the heads of subsidiary canals, there must

be water controls of some kind. Canal controls may be provided also to fiatten steep hydraulic gradients which would result in destruction of canals on account of excessive velocities of flow, and to ensure command at critical points. Canal design and control will be discussed in much more detail later.

25. In many cases it is necessary to provide a complementary drainage

system, this being shown in Fig. l/I/III in broken lines. More will be said about

this later.

26. In the hypothetical example considered above, water is diverted from

the river by means of a weir or barrage. In cases where the area to be supplied

is small in relation to the fiver, it will be uaaconomical to build such a structure.

however, and it may be better to raise water to the head of the main canal by


27. Where the total annual or seasonal flow of a river is sufacient fot irriga-

tion of a required

maximum demand (which will often occur when the river flow is lowest), then the only solution is to impound the flow. For efficient irrigation the water should be ~mpoundedin the river valley above the area to this is impossible, and then some attempt is

on the land itself.

area, but the low flow of the river is insufficient to mat the


Pahang Paya systems,

systems which allow flush irrigation fall into valley impounding scheme in Malaya at present is the Krian Irrigation Scheme.





1. As stated earlier. rlce in Malaya is generally grown in standing water, whereas other irrigated crops will not toletate standing water or even waterlogged ground. Clearly then there are methods of application of watet to rice land which we not acceptable to other crops. Therefore application of water to rice and to other crops will be considered separately: to rice first and to other crops afterwards.


ate two general systems; continuous dnd

rotational. The traditional system is the continuous one. In this system, water

is dribbled on to all parts of the area continuously and simultaneously. Theoretically.

a thousand tiny suppiy trickles are simultaneously regulated to supply enough

but not too much water to a thousand little fields, or "petak" as the small rice fields are called. As might be expected, this system does not work very well unless the land is very even and of very small slope, so that there can be an automatic evenning up of conditions when irregularities such as concentrations of

water and local shortages tend to develop. Where the land is irregular or of modetate fall, difficulties quickly develop, for it is not easy to control simul- taneously a thousand trickles.



2. For irrigat~on of rice, there

3. The rotational system is much better and is slowly gaining favour. With

this system, the area is divided into a number of parts, and each one is irrigated in turn, supply during each turn of imgation being at a higher rate of application than for continuous irrigation. A three part rotation has been found quite satis- factory on the East Coast, water being supplied to each part once each week. Conttol of water in the field is much easier with the rotational method because

(a) the overseers controlling the water do not have to be everywhere at the same time, (b) with larger streams of water, it is much easier to see how the spread of watef over the land is developing, (c) there is mcre chance of getting farmer co-operation if each farmer knows when his land is going to be supplied, and (d) when water supply is deficient, water can be forced on to high spots more easily when such watet as is available is concentrated into recognisable streams. With better control, losses are lower and better use is made of the water.

4. There is, however, another very good reason for adopting the rotational

method in areas where the soil is relatively permeable. as on the East Coast at the beginning of the season, before the land has been ploughed and puddled. Much of the East Coast rice land is underlain by gravel and sand beds. During the dry

season, the surface clay, on which the rice is grown, cracks into a maze of smll but deep cracks which allow surface water to percolate downwards into the per- meable beds below, in which the water table is many feet below ground surface. If, on such land, the continuous system of irrigation is attempted,-that is to say, if the available water is simultaneously sptead over a very wide front-the water will rapidly seep away downwards through the cracks. The land more remote from the field channels will not even be wetted until the farmets near the channels have ploughed and puddled their land, thus stopping the downward loss of water. Clearly, under these conditions, the farmers mote remote from the channels have

to await the pleasure of those near the channels. On the other hand, if the tota-

tional system is adopted, water is applied to sections of the area in turn, with a high rate of application. It thus sweeps over the land faster than it can leak away

through the cracks, and the whole or a much greater part of the area can be wetted and thus rendered fit for ploughing and puddling.

5. The more common methods of application of water to rice land, in-

Afferent and good. as they are actually found in Malaya, are briefly described w~th reference to figures. in the following paragraphs. Every imgation scheme must have arrangements for removal of excess water of course, and typical drain- age arrangements for rtce cultivat~onare shown also in the figures. Dtainage will 3e requlred to remove storm water and excess irrigation water. and to drain off at the end of the season or possibly for some agricultural purpese during the season.

h tlg I 11 111 ~Ilustratespart of a tradittonal small narrow valley scheme. t,t util~.h Irere arc. hu:idrcd% dotled round the country. mainly in Malacca. Negr~Sembtlan and Perak. A single canal. supplied from a headworks. follows tne hillfooi. and water ih tapped off to the bendang at a number of points as shown in the skeich. usuaiiy by means of uncontrolled pipes placed in the canal

bank 'The ii.::dench ,I: i ::. {later 1hu4 tapped off is to run doun the line of steepest fall. with the result that there tends to be much too much water in parts of the bendang and little ~v none in other parts. Eventually the concentration of water tinds the river. and goes to waste. unless prevented. The tendency is shown in the tigute The area A. B. C. D has too much water and the water runs to waste at D Area E. F. G is dry. To counteract this tendency, the farmers must so-operate rn forc~ngthe water tcr move across the contours. instead of down it. This ih posstble: but farmets rarely show a sufficiently co-operative spirit, and the method does not work very well except in very small areas. A further disadvantage of the method is that rcltatton is impossible because supply from the canal to the

bendang is entirely uncontrolled.

7. Fig. 2!lI/III represents part of the area in Fig. l~II/III.This time. however. field channels H I and J K are provided, supply to these being regulated ty controls at H and J. Water is supplied to the bendang only from these tield channels. and ~t is seen that a much more even distribution of water is obtained. while farmer ct)-operatton IS much less essential. If only sufficient water is passed through each tield channei head control, the water will be consumed in the field, and little w~llgo to waste. With this arrangement, rotation is possible, and this may be very dewable when water is scarce.


If the field channels are not too long, they may be laid strictly along

the contour, and provision may be made for admitting excess water from the uphill side. Thus such excess does not run to waste, but is redistributed for use lower down the area.

9. Another method of conserving water, which has proved effectlve. is

shown in Fig. 3!II/III. Here excess water delivered from H I is collected by a drain

L M, just

second field channel J K. This drain is syphoned


upstream from the

underneath J K and delivers the surplus water back to the hillfoot canal just below canal drop N. Such canal drops are very commonly used in small schemes . to control the water level at field channel head controls. The water thus tecovered IS used again lower down the area. This arrangement has much of the advantage nf the rotatmat method. as a high rate of application can be used, say from H I. without loss of water. Where the continuous system is too deeply rooted

in the minds of the farmers, they may prefer this method to the rotational one.

10. Where field channels or drains are placed on the contour, as described

above. it may be dewable or necessary to provide drainage end controls, as

at M in Fig. 3IIIfIII.

11. Irrigation channels take up valuable space which would otherwise be

productive, and therefore field channels should be built only when absolutely necessary. With a reasonable degree of farmer co-operation, it is possible to dispense with them in some cases. An example is given in Fig. 4/1IIIII. The chain dotted lines represent the contours. The full lines represent the small bunds or "batas" between the individual petak. Gaps in the full lines represent wide

openings in the batas, controlled possibly by planks placed on edge and set so as to ensure a minimum depth of water of say 3 inches in the upstream petak.

FIG 1/11/111


Double lines across the batas indicate small diameter pipes. Water can move freely through the openings in the batas, but flow through the small pipes is restricted. It will be seen that the strings of petak along the ridges shown shaded, act in fact as very broad and shallow field channels, from which water is tapped off, by pipes, as required, to the lower petak. In a similar way, strings of petak 3t lower elevations can be connected together for redistribution of concentrations of water.

12. With the greater farmer co-operation and awareness which may emerge

under the community development drive, the method just described may often ptove to be best; it dispenses with the necessity for field channel upkeep, it provides no obstacle to movement of flood water, and no land has to be reserved for field channels. It is unsuitable, however. for irrigation of crops other than rice.

13. With care and attention, these small valley schemes can be made to

work quite well. Without attention, however, they can be complete failures. The most important point to note perhaps is that water needs no engineer effort to make it move straight down the slope. It needs endless patience and attention.

however. to make it move across the slope. It stands to reason then that water should never be encouraged to move across the slope unnecessarily. Quite enough effort will be expended in making it do so when it is necessary. And when it is necessary a whole hearted effort will be essential to get results.

14. At the other end of the scale. in contrast to the small valley areas. are

the broad flat areas of heavy soil such as are found in the lower parts of Krian. Such areas are, in effect, broad shallow pans. There is no difficulty about distri- bution, so long as there is enough watef to meet plant requirements, evaporation and percolation losses. All that is really necessary is to supply water at convenient points in ordet to keep the pan topped up. The supply points must not be too far from any part of the area, because if they are, supply at the beginning of the season to remote parts will be too long delayed. It is difficult to prescribe limits. but it is suggested that no part of a level bendang should be more than half a mile from a supply point.

15. Drainage in such flat areas may be more of a ptoblem than irrigation

distribution. It must be possible to remove flood water reasonably quickly. and it must be possible to drain oii quickly at the appropriate time before harvest. Flat land is not conducive to quick drainage, so it is suggested that no land should

To prevent loss of water

during the *igation

water levels in the drains.

16. A general arrangement as in Fig. 5NIIrII would be quite suitable for rice

~rrigationon heavy Bat land. The arrangement would not be adequate for other


be more tRan about a quarter of a mile from its drain.

season, drains should be provided with gates to hold up

17. Intermediate in type between the small, steep. narrow valley alas and

the broad flat areas just described, there are the extensive, even areas of gentle

slope. such as are found in Tanjong Karang and Kubang Pasu. The slope of these

areas may

yet their slope is so small that the detailed atlention accorded to small valley

areas would be quite out of place and very untconomica!.

18. Flg. 6'IIIIII shows the peneta1 pattern of imgation and drainage in Tanjong Karang. The general arrangement of lots is also indicated. The land is near]? enough level for it to be possible to irrigate across the slope. as opposed to down the slope. without special difficulty. and the arrangement works quite satisfactoril? and has the advantage of cheapness. There is of course a general tendency for water to move downhill towards the sea, but this is countered by the cross bunds. Such bunds are constructed to stop movement of watef towards the lower part of the arza. and therefore they should not be pefforated by pipes and


a foot or

so in

the mile. They are too steep to be treated as flat.



the like. except in special circumstances. As such perforations go contiary to the design intentions, such "special circumstances" should be discussed with the designer, before any action is taken. This point is most important. The purpose of ctoss bund will be completely defeated if the bund is riddled with pipes. It will be found impractical to remove pipes again after they have been allowed, so it is imperative that pipes be not put in except with the designer's authority.

19. The general artangement in Kubang Pasu is similar in principle to that

in Tanjong Karang, but is complicated by the fact that an irrigation system had 10 be superimposed on an existing, though inefficient, drainage system. The water- ways running from the main canal to the sea have to setve the dual purpose of migation and drainage. They are much larger than at Tanjong Karang, and it is ndt practical to ptovide numerous offstake points in their banks. They are also too far apart to allow irrigation across the contour. Irrigation is actually "uphill" from distributaties lying immediately above the cross bunds. This uphill irrigation :s possible for two reasons. Firstly the land is nearly enough flat that a maximum dlowable depth of water at the distributaty ponds back a long way towards the next distributary on the uphill side. Secondly. the presence of contour bands of \rater. positi~ei) heid and topped up as necessary, makes it much easier to ,onserve water reaching the land in the form of rain. Rainfall in the North Kedah Plain is favoutable for wet season rice production, and conservation of rain water 1s as important as provision of irrigation water. Were it not for this fact, the method would not have much to commend it. The distributaties can be used also dram. to discharge excess water. Again attention is drawn to the fact that perforation of the cross bunds would defeat the purpose of the bunds, which is to prevent water moving downhill towards the sea. Fig. 7IIIIIII shows the general irrangement on a section at right angles to the sea.


$0. The atrangements at Tanjong Karang and at Kubang Pasu are suitable for rice cultivation but would not be at all suitable for irrigation of crops not tolerant to standing water and waterlogged soil. It is doubtful whether the system a: Kubang Pasu would be adequate for off-season rice cultivation, because, as explained already. it depends largely on combination with direct rainfall.

1 The system adopted in Sungei Manik and in Trans Perak Stage I is more su~tablefor steeper and less even land. It is illustrated in Fig. 8/1I/III. Every lclt on the distributary frontage has a supply point, and every lot on the drain fmntage can discharge to the drain. Thus each pair of lots can work more or Ic*s independently of other pairs, as regards irrigation and as regards drainage. lu practice. individual drainage may be difficult, as water level in the drain is usually regulated for the common good.

22. The arrangement just described is quite a good one. It could not be

improved on much except by making individual lots natrower and longer, so that tach lot ran the whole way from the supply canal to the drain. Each farmer would then be independent of other farmets. This is not so important where only rice is grown. But it IS important where other crops are to be idigated, as will be explained later.

23. With reasonably favourable rainfall, a great deal can be done on flat. heavy land. merely by careful conservation of rain water. Such schemes are called ' controlled dtainage schemes". because they conserve water by controlling the drainage within them and from them, to the best advantage. Where there is no .:deqcate sources of irrigation water. a controlled drainage scheme is the best that can be done. Some schemes, destined finally for irrigation, start off, however, as controlled drainage schemes. The reason is that in the tirst few years of opening up an area from swamp jungle. a great measure of success can be obtained without irrigation. and it is cheaper and quicker to open up initially for controlled drainage. Tanjong Karang and Kubang Pasu are examples of areas developed in this way. The layout of such schemes is as described fot Tanjong Karang or Kubang Pasu, but without any irrigation supply.









The Pahang Paya system of irrigation is peculiar to Pahang; and it is

likely to remain so, for few ateas outside Pahang would be suited by the system.

The Fahang Paya is generally a shallow basin-shaped depression lying near the Pahang River, with a narrow outlet to the river. When the river rises in flood, the payas are inundated. Consequently the rice crop hasato;be harvested before

the annual tise of the river. It follows that planting must.start in the dry season, and that little reliance for irrigation can be placed od small streams passing

Fig.9/II/Iq. The paya outlet is

blocked by an earth dam, and a conttol gate and culvert &re-provided for drainage. Before the planting season. water is impounded in the pya and allowed to thoroughly saturate the soil to a great depth. At the appropriate time, planting starts round the edge of the paya, and follows the receding water as this is slowly

lowered. In the higher part of the paya, short stemmed v rieties are planted; and in the lower parts. long stemmed varieties. When plantin!% complete, the water level in the paya is allowed to rise, but at a rate not gfeater than the rate of growth of the plants in the lower parts of the paya. Thus the crop depends for its growth on water held in the soil and in the petak, on such rain as may fall and on such water as may be safely impounded in the paya as growth proceeds. A detailed description of Pahang paya cultivation is at Enclosute No. (1) in DDI. 215'55.

through the payas. The system is illustrated in


35. At present. no serious attempt is made to irrigate crops other than rice.

except by a thousand Chinese vegetable gatdeners who hump the water in watering cans. There is little doubt, however. that there will be a call, sooner or later. for irrigation of other crops. Therefore a little is said about the subject here, if only to avoid rice irrigation layouts which will be unsuitable when the demand for irrigation of other ctops comes.

26. The aim of such irrigation will be to keep the moisture content of the

soil. in the root zone of the crop being gtown, within the limits of moisture content acceptable to the plant. If too little water is supplied the plant will wilt, If too much is supplied, so that the water table rises into the root zone, the plant will drown. If the soil is free dtaining, so that the water table does not rise in spite of

excessive irrigation, water will be lost by deep percolation and this water may reappeat elsewhere in a manner which may do damage to other agriculture. Also. plant foods will be carried away by the percolating water. Thus it is necessarv to apply the right amount of water at the ptoper intervals of time, and this is impossible unless the irrigation layout is correct.

27. The subject is amply covered in literature, including "Irrigation Principles

and Practices", by Israelson,

mended reading for layout designers. A quick appreciation, however, is given in the following.

28. For irrigation of field crops, the land is usually divided into long narrow

beds with a gentle slope. The beds are commonly from about 30 ft. to 100 ft. wide. and from 300 ft. to 2,000 ft. or 3,000 ft. in length. The method of irrigation is

to supply water at the top end of the strip, and ta let it run down to the bottom end, wetting the gtound as it flows. Usually a shallow drain is provided at the bottom end of the strip. but this is not meant to remove excess irrigation water. There should not be a@ excess irrigation watet. The general arrangement is shown in Fig. lO'II/III.

Hyd. 4211 in the D.I.D. HQ. library. This is recom-

29. In Fig. lOIIIIIII, assume that the irrigation supply is turned into the bed

shown, and that after a certain time the sheet of watet flowing between the batas has reached line B. Of the water being supplied at the head of the bed, some is now percolating into the soil over the area A1. which has been covered, and only the balance is available fa' moving on. When the water has advanced to line C, water








on beyond line C. Thus the rate of 86a vance of the water down the bed is steadily

getting less. Eventually if the bed is long enough, when the rate of percolation

into the ground is equal to the rate of supply at the head of the bed, the water will stop advancing. Thus it is seen that the longer the bed which is to be irrigated by a stream of a certain size, the greater will be the average depth of water supplied before the advancing water reaches the end of the field. If the bed is too long fot the size of the irrigation stream, the average depth of water supplied is too great, and there wilI be waterlogging or loss of irrigation water and plant nutrients by deep petcolation. For a bed of a given width and length, the average depth of water can be reduced by increasing the rate of application. Evidently light soils to which water infiltrates freely require higher rates of application or shorter beds. Beds can be somewhat longer if they slope more steeply, as the water then advances mote rapidly and irrigation is completed more quickly. But ~f the slope is too steep. the irrigation water may erode the surface. On the other hand, for heavy soils, longet beds, flatter slopes and lower rates of application are appropriate. The science and art of application of irrigation water to land for ctops other than rice, aims to get the right combination of bed size, dope and rate of

application. for the

layout for different ctops.

The layout will usually be determined once and for

all on consideration of the nature of the soil, the crops likely to be grown and

the maximum size of irrigation

operation can be obtained by varying the size of stream for the purpose required

(e.g. a relatively small rate of application would be used for a deep rooted crop).

is percolating into the soil oyel;@e g Az, and still less is available for

crop being grown. It is not normally feasible to change the

stteam which may be available. Latitude in


or by controlling the rate of movement and percolation of water by the use furrows or by checks, etc.

30. We have little knowledge in Malaya at present on the subject of irriga-

tion of other crops. It is suggested, howevet, that if we lay out our new irrigation schemes on the lines shown in Fig. 11/II/III, where thisl is possible, we shall have

schemes which are suitable for rice and for most other field crops, and which will not be unduly expensive.

31. The suggested length of field channel is not irrelevant. It is based on

an assumed channel capacity of 2 cusecs, it being assumed that, when crops other than rice being grown, the whole of this is applied in turn to each bed, and that this is as much water as can be handled comfortably by a single farmer. If the

channel capacity is 2 cusecs, and the duty is 60 acres per cusec, then the total area served by the field channel must not exceed 120 acres. Hence the length of the channel.

32. The arrangement suggested would give a rate of application of 0.4 acres

per cusec, if each lot were tteated as a single bed. The lots could be longitudinally

subdivided, however, thus increasing the rate of application to any figure which proved to be desirable.

33. The lot length proposed, i.e. 30 chains. is a comptomise with economy

and practicability. To reduce the length to 20 chains would result in an expensive layout and one in which too much land was used for canals and drains. Lots 40 chains long, on the other hand, might be difficult on account of irregulatities in the land surface.








are three sources from 'which water can

be obtained for the

irrigation of padi. namely direct rainfall ovef the padi fields, from rivers, streams

or lakes, and from underground water.


2. The traditional padi fields in Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca otiginally depended on rainfall for padi cultivation, and the fanners planned their ploughing and planting of nurseries at the beginning of the wet season. The planting dates and other agricultural activities would therefore be dependent on the start of the rains, and one of the most important

features in these areas is the existence of well formed batasses between lots laid out on contours. These batasses are absolutely necessary for the retention of rain water within each lot for the successful cultivation of padi, and even to-day there are many small sized padi areas scattered throughout Malaya where the farmers

The success or failure of a crop depends

use this method for padi cultivation. on the availability of rainfall.


from rivers and streams has

3. The second source of irrigation supply. i.e

been most

4. In Malaya. the existence of a mountain range running roughly along the centre of the peninsula has resulted in large numbers of rivers or streams flowing eastwards and westwards to the sea. This feature coupled with the heavy rainfall and thick forest cover has ptoduced conditions where streams seldom run dry and provides excellent sources for irrigation and other water supply purposes.

extensively used in Malaya.


The most common methods of abstracting water for

surface water are listed below: -

ifrigation from

(a) Direct tap off from a river by means of a side intake.


Barrage or headworks across a river or stream.

(c) Dam across a valley to form a sforage reservoir.


Pumping from a wide river.

(e) Low bunds across a valley to inundate the padi fields within the valley. or control structures across rivers to regulate the water levels and inundate the surrounding padi fields.

6. Where physical conditions permit it is most economical to abstract wate-

from a river by a side intake suitably located along a river bank. The important factors to be taken into consideration are :-


(b) Water levels in the river at abstraction point. and whether these are stable.

(c) Amount of silt load and suitability of water for irrigation purposes.

fd) Flood levels and exclusion of flood flows from the iniake canal. This can be catered for by judicious bundin? and provision of gates at the intake structure.

Flow in the river during dry periods and quantity to be abstracted.



7. It is generally advisable to carry out detailed surveys of the river 1 mile

upstream and f mile downstream of tne proposed abstraction point and collect hydrological data covering discharges and corresponding water levels to enable the conduct of a model study of the intake to verify the hydraulic performance of the structure.

8. A typical side intake structure used for extraction of 600 cusecs from

the Sg. Perak for irrigating the Trans Perak Stage IV scheme is shown as Figure 1/III/III.


The most extensively used method of extraction of water from a river is

by means of a batrage across the river with an intake of suitable size to meet irrigation requirements. The structure usually consists of a reinforced concrete

Boot slab with side walls and a steel segmental gate.

10. During irrigation seasons, the gate is lowered in order to raise the river

level so that this is high enough to command the irrigation area. Normally the structure is large enough to pass the flood waters when the gate is lifted. Sometimes for reason of economy, a headworks structure is built with a limited flood discharge capacity and an earth flood spillway provided along side to cater for

excess flood waters.

11, The selection of sites for headworks structures should be based on the following considerations: water level command; suitable foundation soils; ease of access to facilitate construction and also the minimum compensation for loss of agricultural or village land as a tesult of inundation due to the raised water levels upstream.

12. A typical headworks structure is shown in Figure 2/III/III, where two

numbers of 3'-0"

13. For small structures where it is not economical to station a gate keeper

to operate the headworks and off-take gates, an automatic type of gate of the trip type or a bear trap gate can be provided. Fig. 3/III/III shows a 20 feet wide Bear

Trap Gate.

14. It is usual to incorporate a drop in the headworks structure to cater for

the tetrogression of the downstream river bed, especially in steep riverine valleys.

Fig. 2/1II 1111 shows the

15. Where the dry weather flow of a rivet is insufficient to meet irrigation

requirements, particulatly in the case of double cropping, then the solution will

be to study the possibility of constructing a dam across the valley of sufficient storage capacity to meet the demand, based on water requirements for padi cultivation.



segmental gates are provided.

14th mile Terachi Headworks with a 9 feet drop.

16. In this case, studies will need be made from existing top0 maps, aerial

photographs and actual surveys including geological studies to locate a suitable

site for a dam. The site should be across a narrow valley with high ground on both flanks and with a reasonably large reservoir capacity upstream.

17. Detailed soil investigations should be carried out at the proposed site

to determine the most suitable type of dam and its height, and in most cases of

low dams up to 50 feet high, earth filled dams would be most suitable, in which event the source of fill material will also require investigation.

18. Hydrological data including rainfall, mean fiver discharges and

maximum flood discharges will be required for studies on irrigation storage and

flood spillway designs.

19. An earth dam with the intake and flood spillway at Bukit Merah in

Krian is shown as Fig. 4a/III/III & 4b/III/III.

20. A reinforced concrete buttress dam of 100 feet high on the Sg. Muda

and a rolled rock fill dam 200 feet high on the Sg. Pedu for the, Muda Irtigation

Project, with a concrete lined canal 44 mile long connecting the two reservoifs is shown in Fig. S/III/III.

21. Should a river from which water is to be abstiacted for irrigation be

very large, or where a considetable rise in water level will be necessary to enable

gravity irrigation, then pumping will be the best method of abstraction. For this

reason, pumping stations are mainly located at the lower reaches of larger rivers in the country.

22. Generally the choice of a pumping station is based on the following

considerations: sufficiency of flow at all times to meet maximum pumping requirements, easy access. freedom from silt and saline intrusion at pump inlet and non-submersion of the station during floods.

23. Information required for the design of a pumping station includes a

survey of the tiver for a distance of 4 mile upstream and ) mile downstream of the proposed site, and maximum and minimum water levels together with discharges. It is advantageous to locate a pumping station at the outside of a bend to lessen the problem of siltation.

24. Irrigation pumps are generally large-capacity. low-head pumps. and

a\~alflow or mixed flow pump are most suitable for this purpose. The pumps are operated by eithet electrical motors or diesel engines dejxnding on the availability


electrrcity supply and the economics of using either diesel or electric drive

taking into consideration of both capital and operation and maintenance costs.

25 As a general guide. diesel engines are more costly than electric motors.

but cheaper to run. Electric motors are smaller, less noisy and easier to keep

requrre fuel storage tanks with no problems connected with

clean and do not fuel suppl!.

26. A typxal pump house with 3 units of 150 cusec axial flow pumps

operated by electric motors for Pinang Tunggal Pumping Scheme is shown as Fig. 61111 111. while a pump house for the Nerus Irrigation Scheme with 3 units of 90 cusec axial flow pumps using diesel engine drive is shown as Fig. 7IIIIIIII and a submersible pump for Pekula Pump House is shown as Fig. 8/III/III.

As a general rule the operation costs of pumped irrigation is higher than


that for other types mainly because of additional pumping costs, and should only be adopted when other methods are not acceptable.

18. When a padi area IS located in a flat valley and there is no reliable water supply either from a stream or from a suitable source of water nearb,c. then an inundation scheme consisting of a low bund across the valley provided with a control gate is the most suitable method. This type of schemes are exclu- sively located in Pahang within the Pahang River Basin.

29. The irrigat~onareas are usually small ranging from 50 acres to 500 acres

and the stream catchments are of I to 10 square miles in area. Earth bunds are formed to heishts of 4 to I2 feet with a control gate to discharge flood waters. Sometimes an earth spillwa) IS also provided alongside the gate to facilitate the passage of flood flows

30. These schemes are generally considered as "sub-standard" schemes and

are not ~dzal. During the monsoon periods the gate is closed and water is retained behind the bund to soak the field. As planting takes place, the stored water is gradually released and from then on the padi plants depend only on rainfall for growth. as the stream generally runs dry. Yields for this type of scheme are very low and only one crop can be planted out a year.

scheme is shown on Fig. 9;III '111.

32. Similar to these. but embracing larger areas and located on coastal plains are the so called controlled drainage schemes. Noteable among these are the Panchang Bedina Scheme in Selangor. the Wan Mat Saman Area and the Kubang Pasu Areas in Kedah.

3 1.

A typrcal layout of an inundation


A main feature of these areas is that the latge tract of padi land has

relatively small fall. One or more rivers may traverse the area, part of which may be subject to saline intrusion. Structutes are built across suitable sections of the river with gates to regulate the water level and cause backing up thus inun- dating the adjacent fields to varying depths. During floods the gates are opened to let out the flood waters. Gates are also opened during harvesting and ofheason period to drain out water from the fields.

34. These schemes lack assured water supply, as during dry years river flaws may not be sufficient for flooding the higher fields. Watet depth in the fields is not uniform, with the lower fields flooded to greater depths than higher fields. Drainage during rainy seasons often presents problems. However these schemes are cheap and during years with well distributed rainfall reasonably good yields have been obtained.


35. Hitherto irrigation using ground water has not yet been done in

Malaya, because of the availability of surface water in the majority of cases. and the inadequate knowledge of ground water resources potential.

36. In places where the exploitation of available surface water is approaching

its limit, there will be a need to look for possible ground water resources for fuither irrigation development. Much work remains to be done in this connection.


A -A


















































F 1G . 4 b/111/111.































































105 CT. UlCY 60,000 CU YO).













A- F.S.L. + 17.00





OI2'-0" CR5.

12"s 18"

AT THE TOP, 9"r !**AT




+ 18-20






























































FIG. 4/~/lll






: L









.- ,.:.-.i













- --.-.-
























1. As noted in Section I, the distribution system of an irrigation scheme may include a main canal, branch canals, feeders and distributaries, and will certainly include field channels. In fact, the whole system aims at getting the water into the field channels, from which it is passed to the field to do its work. Hence, all channels down to and including distributaries are conveyance channels and should be as etlicient as possible as conveyors. They should be as small as possible (unless they have an additional storage function) and they should go down lines of ample fall. Field channels, on the other hand, have to distribute water to the land, over which is convenient for it to follow the line of steepest fall. Hence, to be efficient (efficiency can be measured by area commanded per foot run of channel), field channels must run as nearly as possible along the contom's. A field channel on the cont:>ur has also the advantage of having a very flat grade: thus the head over offtake pipes will remain more ot less uniform and will make uniformity c-f distribution easier. Where a field channel has to be on a substantial slope, water lcvel controls at frequent intervals become necessary.

2. Field channels should be designed for at least 6 inches command over

the land to be irrigated. Nine inches is better and should be provided where possible. More command would be better, but channel banks become too high for easy maintenance. If the command is too small, irrigation from an offtake pipe can be completely stopped by failure of the cultivator beside the canal to allow passage of water through his batas.

3. Because a field channel lies across the fall of the land, it constitutes an

obstruction to drainage. It will cause flooding if too long and unbroken. Where possible it should be given a slight fall, and it should not be too long. For other

reasons, a maximum length of about 3 mile has been suggested already. If channels must be much longer than this, arrangements must be made for cross drainage.

4. Field channel size may be determined by the discharge to be cafried. If a

rotational system is to be adopted in which rotation between field channels (as distinct from between lots on one field channel) is to be practised, then due allowance must be made. Frequently, however, the size of the channel is decided by the amount of eatth which must be found to build the banks, and the size is greater than hydraulic considerations demand. Where the D.I.D. is to maintain the channel, the banks must be initially sufficiently robust, and hydraulic require- ments are unlikely to affect the issue. It is better, and more in keeping with the spirit of "community development" that the farmers should build and maintain their own field channels. Farmer maintained channels can be much smaller, and hydraulic requirements may dominate. A further reason for preferring farmer built field channeh is that small channels of hydraulic section make a scheme more positive in operation. Where channels are of unnecessarily large cubic capacity, the system becomes sluggish on account of reservoiring of water within the canals.

for Government maintenance.

minimum dimensions must be as in Fig. I/N/III. If built to a lesser standard.

maintenance becomes impractical. By contrast is shown, also in Fig. l/IVIIII, a field channel to dimensions which have proved adequate, when the farmers them-

A small channel like this needs

selves build and maintain their field channels.

to be repaired immediately a weak point develops. So long as this is done, it is perfectly serviceable.

6. Water must be taken off from field channels by means of pipes; not by making cuts in the canal bank. Pipes are orifices of a sort, and the discharge through them is proportional to the square root of the head. Therefore they ate not unduly sensitive to small changes in water level in the channel. Pipes may be hollow bamboos, glazed earthenwate pipes or asbestos cement. They may be uncontrolled, In which case supply is stopped by inserting a clod of earth or the like. Or they

5. Whete a field channel is built by the D.I.D.

may be fitted with plugs or rudimentary buttetfly valves. There is no point in using anything more complicated and expensive than circumstances dictate. Otltalces through D.I.D. maintained banks should be of a permanent material. howevet.

7. Where the land to be irrigated is uneven, water will tend to gravitate to

the valleys. Offtake pipes should then be placed to delivet onto the ridges. Delivery, if any. direct to the valleys. should be very restricted.

8. Field channel headgates will be discussed together with other controls of

the distribution system. Sufficient to note here that they must be big enough to supply the requirements of the Held channel, taking into account where applicable rotational irrigation as between differen1 lield channels.

The purpose of the man branch. feeder and distributary canals is to

convey water to the field channels. Normally, they should not be used to supply

directly ti) the field. but the occasional field offtake is difficult to avoid.


10. As a conveyance canal does not normally have to have direct command

of the land. it should be placed in cut whenever possible. as there can then be no

breached banks.

In hydraulically designing a conveyance canal it is necessary to ensure:

I I.

(a) that its capacity is sufficient. and

(h) that

it will be stable.

By stability is meant that there is no progressive change of slope or of cross section. In fact. the channel should be in regime. For a given discharge and sediment charge. there will be stability only .if width. depth and slope are acceptable. taking into account the material of which the channel banks arc formed. An appreciation of this fact is important. Two examples will make the principles clear.

12. Consider a channel which is in regime with a certain discharge and sediment charge. Let the discharge remain the same but increase the sediment charge. The additional sediment will deposit at the head of the channel and a steeper slope will build up progressively till the higher velocity over the new slope can carry forward the whole of the new charge. With increase in velocity. the drag of the water on the wetted perimeter increases, and this may now exceed the permissible intens~tyof tractive force on the banks of the channel. The banks will then erode and fall. thus causing the channel to become wider and shaIlower. until--as a result of decrease in velocity and in depth in the wider and shallower section-the attack on the banks ceases and stability is once more achieved. A new regime has been attained in which all dimensions are different. Thus it is seen that discharge. sediment charge. bank material, slope and cross section are all interrelated.


sediment. Drag at the sides will be so low that some of the sediment is deposited.

causing the channel to become narrower and deeper.

14. It is interesting to note too that where the sediment consists of coarse particles only, the channel may be able to silt its bed, but it will not silt its banks because the coarse sediment is travelling along or close to the bottom. Similarly a channel carrying fine sediment only may grow narrower by deposition on its banks. but will not silt its bed unless velocities are very low. Thus a channe! carrying turbid water but no sand tends to be narrow and deep. and vice versa.

13. Again.







15. Canal regime theory, developed in pre-partitioned India, expresses these

principles quantitatively. Blench's exposition in "Civil Engineering Reference Book". Han. 62 1 in D.I.D. HQ. library. is brief and readable. and is recommended for study.


The formulae given by Blench, cast in convenient form are:

where W =

mean width of channel, taken as trapezoidal in design.

D = depth of bed below water level, assumed level in cross section.

S = slope,

b =

bed factor,

r is the kinematic viscosity.

In the absence of a bettet estimate, the approximation as

b =


bed factor can






where m is the mean diameter in mm. of the sand exposed on a canal bed in regime.

s, the side factor. vanes from about 0.1 for rather cohesionless banks to about 0.25 for particularly tough banks. The value of r is round about unity. The formulae give width and depth in feet. Slope. of course. is dimensionless.

17 The formulae are quoted by way of illustration Their use in practice

should not be attempted without studying the theory and discovering the limita-

tions. methods of estimatrng b and s. and so on.

18. By way of example. the table below has been prepared from design curves, given by Blench. for channels with a small charge of bed sediment, such as might be expected In a normal well regulated canal system. A bed factor of 1.0. corresponding to a sand of mean diameter about 0.3 mm. has been assumea. And side factors of 0.25 and 0.15 corresponding to tough banks and average banks. have been assumed.

Discharge Cusecs


Bed factor= 4.0 Side jactor=O


Depth ft




4 45



















Bed factor= 1 .O

Side factor=U IS



















81 5





The points to note from the formulae are the following.

(al Large canals In reglme have a greater width to depth ratio than small ones. rh) Large canals In regime have a flatter slope than small ones.


The coarser the bed material, the greater the regime widthldepth ratio.

(d) The more erodible the bank material, the gteater the regime width/


depth ratio. The coarser the bed material, the steeper the slope.

(f) The erodibility of the banks does not affect the tegime slope very much.

The most important point to note from the table is that regime sections are far removed from the "most efficient" channel sections of conventional rigid boundary hydraulics.

19. To what extent is regime theory applicable in Malaya? The question is worth asking, for we have generally managed quite well without it. At any rate, this is probably the belief of many. who have just regarded the misbehaviour of a canal as "one of those things". There is no doubt that the theory is applicable to canal systems taking off from sediment laden streams. Also there is no doubt that in the past a numbet of our canals have been constructed to non-regime dimensions and slopes. Probably the most common fault has been to make sections too deep and too narrow, so that there has been a tendency to silt and to erode banks. It is suggested that regime theory is worth applying in the case of canal systems supplied from sandy tiver headworks, at least in the main canal and in all canals to which bed sediment has access.

20. For pumping schemes and systems supplied from impounding reservoirs,

there will be no bed sediment in the canals unless it is brought in by streams entering the canal system or by bank or bed erosion. If sediment does become present, the canal will attempt to acquire a regime section and slope. To avoid erosion of banks in small canals of this kind, the following are the mean velocities. beyond which trouble will almost certainly occur:

Sandy loams

2 ftlsec.

Clay loams

3 ftlsec.

Stiff clays

4 ftlsec.

For larger canals, a regime theory check is advisable.

21. It is safer and better to err on the side of excessive width, if in doubt.

With a little care, a canal which is initially of too wide a section will build itself tough berms, if there is a reasonable amount of sediment in suspension, and these berms will be beneficial. If, on the other hand, the canal is made too narrow, it will scour its banks and silt its bed, and permanent repairs will be impossible unless the faulty bank alignment is rectified by setting back. This may be difficult and


22. Whether or not regime theory is applied in any pafflcular case, there

is much less possibility of blundering if the principles have been digested.

23. It is probably appropriate to mention here that except when a canal

is in cut, the initial cross section of waterway is not usually determined by hydraulic considerations at all. Usually the banks of a canal which is requited to command the land will require more spoil than can be obtained from a hydraulic section of waterway. Therefore the section is excavated large enough to obtain the required amount of bank spoil. It is better in such cases to excavate wide and shallow rather than deep and narrow. In developed areas, however, land acquisition will be expensive if this principle is pressed too far.

24. The capacity of any particular canal must depend on its place in the system and the type of system. The main canal obviously has to carry the maximum demand of the scheme, taking into account any losses which are likely to occur.

canals should be equal to the capacity of the parent canal.

a rotational one, in which

the system, then the canals supplying the different parts must have sufficient

capacity to supply the maximum demand of the parts served. For example, if a feeder supplies three distributaries, and rotation is to be practised between the three distributaries, then each of the distributaries must be of the same capacity as the feeder.

If the system is

rotation is practised as between different parts of

26. Losses from canals may be by evaporation and transpiration, by per-


correct course is to stop the leaks. Transpiration and evaporation losses from canals in Malaya do not seem to be at all serious, and can be ignored. Per- colation losses from canals in heavy clay are negligible. It is only percolation losses from conveyance canals on sandy or sidelong ground that may be serious

Each case will have to be examined on its own merits. Rule of thumb cannot be applied. Where loss is serious, lining may be necessary. Canals may be lined with a skin of concrete or mortar, or bitumastic or plastic membranes may be placed in the soil, around or under the section. Usually in Malaya, canal losses are not serious, and in this we are fortunate.

27. Where possible, canals should be in cut, in order to reduce recurrent

maintenance costs.

colation, or by plain leakage. Loss by leakage should not be allowed for.


banks. Fundamentally, the banks of a canal are for retaining water in the canal, and must be stable when regarded as dams. They must also be reason, ably watertight.

29. Rather arbitrarily, a percolation gradient of 4 to 1 is generally accepted

in Malaya as good enough, for average good clayey bank material. See Fi8.

2/IV/III. Each case should be considered on its merits, however. If a bank shows seepage generally at its outside toe, then the percolation gradient is too steep for the bank material, and in all probability bank failures by piping wit1

be frequent.

33. The dimensions obtained by considerations of percolation may not bo

the governing ones, however. Experience has shown that a bank which is to b maintained departmentally must have certain minimum dimensions. Down to and including distributaries, the following are the minimum requirements, which

must not be set aside on any consideration of expediency.

28. Where



cannot be put


cut, the


must run

Top width must never be less than 4 feet. where only pedestrian traffic is to be allowed. Where cycle traffic is to be allowed, this shouid be increased to 6 feet. For large canals and where special maintenance methods are to be used, (e.g. tractor weedin,.) the top width should be further increased.


at not

for larger canals.

Side slopes for banks in the best materials should never be steeper



3 to 1 should be adopted.

Freeboard for

less than




distributaries and

small canals must


18 inches. 2 feet or 3 feet of freeboard is appropriate

For less good materials, side slopes of





31. It is debateable whether or not berms should be provided. Fig.

3aiIVIIII shows, in full lines, a canal bank set back from the channel, leaving a berm between. The dotted line shows an alternative bank slope on a flatter gradient. On the face of it, it appears that the dotted line would be better


than the arrangement with a benn. In practice, however, a flat bank below water level seems to be peculiarly susceptible to attack; and very

always, the section finishes up as in Fig. 3bINIIII. This, clearly, is less stable





- -







FIG . 3 b/lVlllI

than the berm arrangement, and bank repairs will be more difficult and expensive. Berms are very useful as walkways for excavators on desilting and repair


At a pinch. berm material can also be used for emergency bank repair


On the whole then, it seems preferable to provide berms, if space permits.

Unfortunately it does not always permit. Where provided, berms should pre- ferably be wide enough to run an excavator, appropriate in size to the main- tenance work which may be required on the canal.


32. Canal controls are required for the following purposes:


To flatten a hydraulic gradient in a canal, which would otherwise be too steep.


To provide for proper distribution of water as between different parts of a system.


To obtain command at specific points.

33. Where the only purpose of a control is to maintain a gradient in a

conveyance canal, a notched fall is probably the best type, as this can be designed

and it does not obstruct the natural

to maintain parallel flow at all

movement of sediment down the canal. Reference may be made to "Irrigatton

Pocket Book" by Buckley, or to other standard works on irrigation.

34. There has not been much application in Malaya, however. for notched


falls. This is because canal systems are short, and usually a canal fall is required to command some other canal on the land, as well as to reduce the hydraulic gradient. Where command is required. the best type of control is one which maintains water levels at the control within close limits, without constant adjust- ment by the irrigation staff. The head above an overshot type of control will

vary as the discharge raised to the ower

213, whereas the head above an under-

shot type of control will vary as

overshot type of control is indicated where it is desired to maintain a constant

command level at a point in spite of some variation in canal discharge.

is to say, the control should take the form of a weir, and not of a gated culvert.

The greater the length of the weir, the less sensitive will be the u stream water

level to changes in discharge.

command control. as commonly used in the D.I.D. The long crest of the circular

spill-well assures a practically constant upstream water level, over a wide variation in canal discharge.

35. It may be desirable in certaia cases to provide for periodic alteration

to the command level, in which case the control should take the form of an adjustable weir.

& square of the discharge. Clearly then an

Fig. 4/IV/III illustrates


a typicaPsmall canal

36. Usually the object in holding a command level steady is to maintain a

a distribu&. in which a constant dis-

constant head on the control supplying

charge is required. The discharge will be more or less constant provided the control is insensitive to changes in upstream water level. Thus the distributary

control should be of undershot type. It generally takes the form of a gated culvert. A typical distributary head control is shown in Fig. 5/IV/III.


control and a distributary discharge control is shown in Fig. 6/IV/III.

38. Cpnsider what would happen if the controls in Fig. 6/IV/IIL were

reversed. If more water came down the conveyance canal as a result of increased

intake at the headworks, or as a result of closing down a branch canal hiiher up, the distributary would get almost the whole increase and would be hope- lessly overloaded.

37. The








11. - -.



























B- 8.


Similarly, command and gradient controls along the length of a dis-

tributary should be weir type controls, and field channel head controls should

be undershot types.

40. A system in which main canal discharge varies will work smoothly

and nearly independentIy with overshot main and branch controls and undershot distributary and field channel controls. With types reversed, it will need con- stant fiddling, with great sensitivity in one part as a result of fiddling in another.

41. In some schemes, a constant proportionate division of water is

required, as between two or more branch canals. This can be achieved by setting weir type controls with equal crest levels at the head of the branches. (Orifice types are not suitable for this purpose, as they are sensitive to down-

stream water levels, which may vary in the branches). So long as the bi- furcation control is not also a command control, the matched weirs can be narrow and deep, for economy, provided they are of streamlined section, as shown in Fig. 7/IV/III. Weirs of this type are not affected by downstream water level, provided the depth of submergence does not exceed 80 per cent. That is to say, if the head over the weir was 1.0 ft. the discharge would

tailwater level, so long as this did not stand more than

0.8 ft. above crest level. In fact the discharge is not seriously affected till

over 90 per cent submergence. So long as a clear hydraulic jump forms, it can be taken that the discharge is not appreciably affected.

42. The undershot distributary head control already described is a very

rudimentary form of "module". a module being a control aiming to give constant discharge notwithstanding differences in head. There are a number of more efficient types, but economic circumstances have not yet favoured their use in Malaya. A very simple type is the NEYRPIC module, developed by the NEYRPIC Research Laboratories at Grenoble. Details of this patent type are available at D.I.D. HQ. NEYRPIC has also developed a number of automatic control gates, which are in use in systems in other countries where water is very scarce. These might be useful in Malaya when more value is placed on water than at present. These types include automatic gates designed to hold constant upstream or constant downstream water levels.

43. The control regulating entry of water from the source 'of supply to

the canal is called the canal head regulator. Where supply is from a sandy

river, the location of the head regulator requires special attention. It must


be placed

water is towards the bank and the bottom water is moving away from the bank. This, of course. implies a corkscrew motion of the water as it travels down the river. and this motion is found on bends. The surface water moves

towards the outside of the bend, and is clean, apart possibly from floating

trash. The

bottom water is moving towards the inside of the bend, and is

sweeping the bed sediment towards the inside of the bend. The sediment is deposited on the inside of the bend, as we all know. If the canal head were on the inside of the bend, this sediment would be drawn into the canal. Hence, the canal head regulator should be put on the outside of a bend and must in no circumstances be put on the inside. Where possible, the bend should be gentle, as the bank may be unstable on a sharp bend. Also, the current may not follow closely round a sharp bend, but may bounce off the side, creating a reverse eddy which might lift sand, at certain parts of the bend. (This has happened, in fact, at the Muda River intake. The main

current bounces off the outside bank a short way upstream of the intake, and a reverse corkscrew current lifts sand into the intake mouth). It is recognised

nowadays that

in prevention of entry of bed sediment to a canal.

correct curvature of flow at intake is the most important factor

not be affected by




on the river bank where the surface movement of

tendency of top water and bottom water to back up on the outside of the

bend as a result of centrifugal force. The top water is going faster and tends

bottom water which is going more slowly as it is

subjected to bed drag. Hence the top water tends to back up more than the bottom water. The unbalanced head cannot be sustained however, so at the outside of the bed there is a downward flow, and at the inside there is an upward flow. Consequently there must also be a flow at the surface from hide to outside, and from outside to inside at the bottom.

45. A further point about the canal head regulator is that it will draw

its length is

to back up more than the

a greater proportion of clean top water if substantial.

46. As intakes are usually put immediately above weirs or barrages (these

being of course river command controls), it foIlows that weirs and banages

Straight reaches of

rivers are not

corkscrew currents with the wrong direction of rotation.

apply to location of pump intakes.

Miscellaneous canal structures include syphons, flumes and

No special comment is called for here. arrangement with the A.D. Planning.

its crest

is high and

should be sited if possible on bends of correct curvature.


so good, as the current inay


to swing, thus setting up

The same principles






Approved types

canal controls are energy dissipating

structures and that

should be designed on the principles explained later in comexion with weirs


and barrages.

48. It



be noted



they are also subjected to











1. irriiation. is most likely to be required in dry weather. h Malaya.

where rivers are short

discharges yu@ low and therefore when water level is low. Occasionally, with

be high enough to

then the head-

works consists simply of a canal head intake and regulator. Usually. however, it will be necessary to back up the water level in the river in order to command the canal head. If only a small amount of backing up is necessary, a plain weir may suffice. If more backing up is required a weir surmounted by crest

gates is

intake and regulator are known collectively in Malaya as the "headworks".

2. The reason for using a barrage instead of a weir, where much backing

used. This is called a barrage. The weir or barrage and the canal

command tbe head of the irrigation canal. If this is the case,

favourable' topography. low flow level in the river may

this means that irrigation will be required when river

up is required, is that a high fixed crest would result


would result in deterioration of the .river upstream, by aggradation, aild possibly in flooding upstream.

3. How high is it permissible to place a fixed crest? Consider Fig. I/V/III. On the left hand side of the diagram, frequency of flow at various stages is plotted, and also bed sediment load at various stages. By multiplying together frequency and sediment load at various stages, another curve--drawn on the right-is obtained, which shows the importance of various stages of flow, so far as shifting bed sediment is concerned. The most important stage

water levels (afflux), at high

in raising of





stages of

flow as well


is sometimes called the "formative stage". Different streams will have different characteristics. But clearly the most important stages from this point of view

are rather above the


be backed up. but must be allowed to pass unimpeded. It would probably

be safe to raise the fixed weir crest to a level which allowed the most frequently occurring discharge to pass without afflux.

4. Where there is to be irrigation. however, it will probably be the case that stages higher than the most frequently occurring one will be held anyway. If this is so, then upstream aggradation must be expected, but no additional harm will result in raisiag the fixed crest slightly higher than otherwise, but this must not be overdone.

5. Fixed weir proportions are not determined by level alone. If, as normal

be avoided. discharge corresponding to these important stages must not

If upstream aggradation is

stage of

greatest frequency.

lye the idea is to avoid dux at formative and high discharges, then the weir must be sufTiciently wide that side constriction does not bottle up the flow.

Obviously the higher the crest level, the wider must be the structure in order

to avoid afnux at higher discharges.

build though there will be some saving in the cost of crest gates, as shallow

gates will go with


afflux at

bank full stage, then the river flood plaii must be bunded, for it is unsafe to dissipate energy over the ground surface on the flanks of the weir. Buading is a nuisance and afflux means upstream flooding. Therefore Malayan weirs and barrages are usually so proportioned that afnux has disappeared entirely

This consideration also affects the

before the river rises to bank weir crest proportions.

A wide structure will be expensive to




high crest.

6. Flood levels on the average Malayan plain rise 2 or


a weir

general plain level.

is so proportional that there is any

full stage.











flow, which may

cause troublesome scour or erosion.


weirs mu&


excess of normal river width cause local bed instability.





is apparent





length of





arrived at

crest length approximately equal to the bed

by compromise.

Usually an acceptable solution is found with

width of

the river.





9. When fixed weir crest level has been decided, the height of the etes

will follow automatically if the desired F.S.L. is known. Thus we arrive at the basic proportions of the bar which is to be put in the river, and we now have to consider the structure which will surround and sustain this bar. It is not the intention to go into details of design, but only to outline the principles involved.

As already seen, the function of the weir (barrages will be included

generally in the following) is to raise water levels upstream. Evidently then there must be a fall of water through the structure at certain stages of flow. The fall results in conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy, and this

energy must be destroyed within the solid boundaries of the structure or it

will destroy the river channel downstream of the structure. If the river channel

result of

undermining by piping.

11. If some upstream bed aggradation takes place as a result of the construction of the weir, there will be corresponding downstream retrogressioh. at least until normal sediment movement is once more restored. Thus, for a while, the downstream stage discharge curve of the river will be lower than previously, and this will result in release of still more energy which must be killed within the structure. Allowance may have to be made also for

permanent downstream

IS destroyed. the structure is likely to fail also. structurally, or as a


bed retrogression. resulting from removal of old brush-

wood dams or other obstructions.

12. The weir is also a dam, and is subject to overturning, sliding and uplift forces. It must be stable against these under all conditions. Most river

dwersion structures.

meable foundations requirbg substantial length. There is usually no danger of sliding or overturning, and in design we do not generally have to consider these. Uplift is important. however, for unless proper provision is made, the structure, or part of it, may be lifted bodily by the pressure underneath it.

Provision must be made also to preveilt failure by progressive wash-

in Malaya at any rate, are low, and are built on per-


out of the soil beneath the structure.

This is known as "piping".

14. The surface flow aspect of design will be considered first, and then

uplift pressures and piping.






15 The standard method of dissipating energy in a weir structure is by

If a jet of water with a hypercritical velocity

a hydraulic jump

is formed, with dissipatioh

means of the hydraulic jump.

strikes water of sufficient depth.



Assuming that all


turbulence is dissipated in

the jump,

the amount of energy dissipated (H,) is the difference in level between total

energy level upstream of

stated that the

basic proportions of the jump are fixed for any given set of conditions, and

can be expressed by

the jump and total energy level downstream of it.


it can


16. Without going into the mathematics of


series of

curves of

the form shown in Fig. 2/V/III.

17. For the jump to form properly, it is necessary that the required Er.

It cannot be provided by way of



which illustrates the longitudinal shape of the floor of a typical low


snould be available above the floor level.

hole below floor level. The high velocity jet would simply persist and no

proper jump would be formed.

In practice. the correct downstream depth for all conditions of flow be obtained 011 a horiz~ntalfloor. and the expedient of sloping the floor


gentlr is adopted. for reasons which become plain on consideration of Fig.

head weir, as used in Malay@.

19. Consider a small flow of intensity q, running over the weir and down

the slope (or glacis) to meet tailwater at a level which will be determined by the downstream stage-discharge curve of the river. At some point on the slope


correct downstream depth for

form. Similarly for a large discharge q,. at some point the depth will be correct. so the jump will form. Thus. provided the downstream floor is low enough. there will always be a point on the glacis at which the depth is right for forma-

formation of the jump. The jump will therefore

3 V

the slope is long enough) the downstream depth will be equal to dz, the

value of q and for any value of H~.and a jump will

tion of the jump. for any form.



energy in a jump formed on a slope will be satis-

prov~ded the slope is not too steep. though not so satisfactory as on a


dissipation of

level floor. In the D.I.D


standard slope is 3 to 1. and on this slope there

IS quite good energy dissipation. The slope is steep enough that the structure

doer not become unduly long. yet not so steep that shuttering must be used to place the concrete in the slope.

21. The first part of the design problem is to find the highest level, and

therefore the most economical level at which the downstream floor can be put.

The curves in Fig. 4'V'III provide a convenient method. The following example illustrates the method of use.

12. Suppose that a discharge of intensity 50 Cusecs per foot width passes

over a weir of level ~uch that

+52.2 (Upstream to!al energy level can be found of course if the weir crest

level and the


curve of the ncer. I\

downstream total energy level. derived from the stageldischarge

wecr coefficient of discharge arc known). Suppose also that the

the total energy level upstream of the weir is

the energy head lost. is 52.2- 45.6=6.6

feet. From the curve\. He see that when q is 50 and H, is 6.6. E,, is 9.4 fee:


Then H,

The downstream ffoor !etel must be set at least 9.4 feet below

is to say. it must not be aboce +36.2.

iump uill not form. the high velocity jet coming

shoot off the end of the floor and tear up the river bed downstream.

$45.6 then: tha:

low as this. the

will merelq


the floor is not

as down the glacis


In an actual example. maximum permissible downstream floor levei

hill be worked out for various conditions of flow. and the level selected wil:

be the one appropriate to the worst case.

is evident that correct design depends on a correct

tailwater discharge curve. and this is why a stage'discharge curie should always

be established at a site where it is proposed to build a ueir. This curve should

be adjusted to allow for

the weir or after removal of obstruction in the river downstream. Flood levels

are not

No rule for estimation of retrogression can be given. The curve if it is still further modified to give total energy level against

discharge. instead of stage against discharge. If there has been no measurement

of stage and dischurge at the sits,

assume a curve. portance.

structure of any size and im-

the designer has to use his judgement and

occur after construction of

24. From the above. it

swh retrogression as may

likely to be

affccted greatly. but low flow levels may drop by 2 or 3

is not satisfactory for a

or more feet. is easier to use


25. Also in determining downstream floor levels, some allowance should be made for the possibility of concentrations of flow over parts of the weir. Intensities of flow should be increased by 10 per cent to 20 per cent, according to approach conditions, without benefit of correspondingly increased tailwater levels.

normally proportions its plains

rivers weirs in such a way that dlux disappears before bank full stage is teached. Hence, the tailwater stageldischarge curve will rise above the weit crest stagel

discharge curve at some discharge less than bank full discharge. Thus there will be no afflux for high discharge, and the most unfavourable conditions will be found at medium or even at low discharges.

it is spread


of formation of the jump; and while it continues to rise. there continues to be

substantial turbulence. The whole of the turbulence, and hence the whole

"length" of the jump. must be contained within the solid structure. Therefore

26. As

previously explained, the


27. In reality, the jump does not take place instantaneously :



The water surface rises gradually from the point

form, and how

long it


~t is necessary to know where the jump is going to

Unfortunately rt does not form at the theoretical point, but at a point further up the glacis. The point of formation is determined from the curves shown in Figs. SIVIIII and 61VIIII which were experimentally derived by the D.I.D. The method of their use is most easily explained by means of an example. Suppose that 30 cusecs per foot width flows down a glacis with a slope of 3 to. 1. and meets tailwater at a level of +20.0, downstream horizontal floor level bemg \a at -I- 11.0. Suppose also that H,,