For producers in California, irrigation is a way of life—and that means learning about and guarding against the most common types of damage to irrigation canals. Even when you’re using one of BTL Liners’ geomembranes, which are known to be among the toughest in the business, damage can still happen. In California, with its high proportion of hot, sunny days, UV damage is especially prominent. This causes geomembranes to degrade over time, which will eventually lead to seepage and leaks. Keeping canals full of water is one of the best ways to help protect geomembranes, but this isn’t always possible, so another option is to pair geomembranes with a layer of ballast or concrete to cover it.
Cracking is another problem to guard against—and there are several ways to do this. First, ensure that the installation job is free of mistakes, like layers of concrete or mortar spread too thin, improperly installed seams, or rough material handling during installation. Another way to protect against cracks is to choose a liner that is truly flexible. Some “flexible” liners are still rather thick and inflexible, which makes them more prone to cracking whereas products like our RPE liner are highly flexible, able to form around natural features without cracking. Other environmental concerns include wind, water, wildlife and local flora, which can each cause their own problems. Wind and water can lift geomembranes and detach them from the earth, which can lead to leaks. Rats and insects also lead to leaks if they chew on the material. Weeds can grow in canals, too, which can lead to blockages, and can eventually cause damage to a liner.