Updated Jul 10, 2019

Raised, Terraced Canals

Part of University of California, Davis

A system of using canals in surface flow irrigation that reduces erosion damage and eases control of water into irrigation plots.


Abraham Salomon

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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

This has been piloted in Eastern Uganda and can be scaled up to additional sites using surface irrigation in the region

Focus Areas:

Water Management

Water ManagementSEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
Verified Funding


Farmers face difficulty feeding water into irrigation furrows using traditional methods of moving soil to open and block canals. These canals are also often damaged by erosion from excess storm water.



We use a main canal for feeding water into irrigation furrows which is raised above the level of the field to allow easier control of water into furrows. The canal is terraced so that it is flat to the width of one plot, and with pipes are embedded in the sides of the canal to allow water to flow to plots on the side of the canal. These pipes are opened for one plot when a blockage is made at the end of the terrace.

Target Beneficiaries

Smallholder farmers using surface irrigation for vegetables.

Mission and Vision

To make surface irrigation of vegetables easier to manage, save water, and reduce erosion.

Innovation Description

The main canal is planned to run downslope from the main supply, with plots perpendicular on the sides of the canal. Based on the slope, terraces are then made where the canal will be made to make flat sections along the length of the canal. The soil under the canal should be packed down to harden it, and clay or murram can be added to increase the strength of soil under the canal. A sheet of plastic or woven sack is placed on the terraced soil. Sacks or clay rich soil are piled on the sides of the canal to raise the water level. gaps between sacks are filled with soil and the sides of the canal are packed down. Pipes made of HDPE or hollowed bamboo are set in the sides. Furrows are made at the bottom of each pipe, to allow water to flow into it from the canal. To apply water, a blockage is made in the canal at the end of the terrace and the pipes are opened to allow water into the furrows.

Competitive Advantage

This innovation reduces erosion in canals by strengthening the canal sides and not digging canals into the soil making a natural channel. It also makes it easier to control water and reduces water loss by reducing wastage from poor diversions.
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted18

The Team Behind the Innovation

Kate Scow- Professor of Soil Science and Microbial Ecology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis Helen Acuku- Program Manager, Teso Womens Development Initiative. Betty Ikalany - Executive Director, Teso Womens Development Initiative. Abraham Salomon - Project manager of 'Innovations in Dry Season Horticulture' in Uganda.



Date Unknown
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Supporting Materials