About Maximapedia

Water Supply

WATER SUPPLY. This article is confined to the collection and storage of water for domestic and industrial uses and irrigation, and its purification on a large scale. The conveyance of water is dealt with in the article AQUEDUCT.

COLLECTING AREAS Surface Waters. Any area, large or small, of the earth's surface from any part of which, if the ground were impermeable, water would flow by gravitation past any point in a natural watercourse is commonly known in Europe as the " hydrographic basin " above that point. In English it has been called indifferently the " catchment basin," the " gathering ground," the " drainage area " and the " watershed." The latter term, though originally equivalent to the German W asserscheide " water-parting " is perhaps least open to objection. The water-parting is the line bounding such an area and separating it from other watersheds. The banks of a watercourse or sides of a valley are distinguished as the right and left bank respectively, the spectator being understood to be looking down the valley.

The surface of the earth is rarely impermeable, and the structure of the rocks largely determines the direction of flow of so much of the rainfall as sinks into the ground and is not evaporated. Thus the figure and area of a surface watershed may not be coincident with that of the corresponding underground watershed: and the flow in any watercourse, especially from a small watershed, may, by reason of underground flow from or into other watersheds, be disproportionate to the area apparently drained by that watercourse.

When no reservoir exists, the volume of continuous supply from any watershed area Dly is evidently limited to the minimum, weather or, so-called, extreme dry weather /low of fl ov> O f the stream draining it. This /ream. canno t be determined from the rainfall; it entirely depends upon the power of the soil and rock to store water in the particular area under consideration, and to yield it continuously to the stream by means of concentrated springs or diffused seepage. Mountain areas of 10,000 acres and upwards, largely covered with moorland, upon nearly impermeable rocks with few water-bearing fissures, yield in temperate climates, towards the end of the driest seasons, and therefore solely from underground, between a fifth and a quarter of a cubic foot per second per 1000 acres. Throughout the course of the river Severn, the head-waters of which are chiefly supplied from such formations, this rate does not materially change, even down to the city of Worcester, past which the discharge flows from 1,256,000 acres. But in smaller areas, which on the average are necessarily nearer to the waterparting, the limits are much wider, and the rate of minimum discharge is generally smaller.

Thus, for example, on 1000 acres or less, it commonly falls to onetenth of a cubic foot, and upon an upland Silurian area of 940 acres, giving no visible sign of any peculiarity, the discharge fell, on the aist of September 1895, to one-thirty-fifth of a cubic foot per second per 1000 acres. In this case, however, some of the water probably passed through the beds and joints of rocks to an adjoining valley lying at a lower level, and had both streams been gauged the average would probably have been considerably greater. The Thames at Teddington, fed largely from cretaceous areas, fell during ten days in September 1898 (the artificial abstractions for the supply of London being added) to about one-sixth of a cubic foot, and since 1880 the discharge has occasionally fallen, in each of six other cases, to about one-fifth of a cubic foot per second per 1000 acres. Owing, however, to the very variable permeability of the strata, the tributaries of the Thames, when separately gauged in dry seasons, yield the most divergent results. It may be taken as an axiom that the variation of minimum discharges from their mean values increases as the separate areas diminish. In the eastern and south-eastern counties of England even greater variety of dry weather flow prevails than in the west, and upon the chalk formations there are generally no surface streams, except such as burst out after wet weather and form the so-called " bournes." On the other hand, some rocks in mountain districts, notably the granites, owing to the great quantity of water stored in their numerous fissures or joints, commonly yield a much higher proportion of so-called dry weather flow.

When, however, a reservoir is employed to equalize the flow during and before the period of dry weather, the minimum flow continuously available may be increased to a much higher figure, depending upon the capacity of that reservoir in relation to the mean flow of the stream supplying it. In such a case the first essential in determining the yield is to ascertain the rainfall. For this purpose, if there are no rain-gauges on the drainage area in question, an estimate may be formed from numerous gaugings throughout the country, most of which are published in British Rainfall, initiated by the late Mr G. J. Symons, F.R.S., and now carried on by Dr H. R. Mill. 1 But except in the hands of those who have spent years in such investigations, this method may lead to most incorrect conclusions. If any observations exist upon the drainage area itself they are commonly only from a single gauge, and this gauge, unless the area is very level, may give results widely different from the mean fall on the whole area. Unqualified reliance upon single gauges in the past has been the cause of serious errors in the estimated relation between rainfall and flow off the ground.

The uncertainties are illustrated by the following actual example : A battery of fourteen rain-gauges, in the same vertical plane, on ground having the natural profile shown by the section (fig. l), gave during three consecutive years the respective falls shown by FIG. i.

the height of the dotted lines above the datum line. Thus on the average, gauge C recorded 20% more than gauge D only 70 ft. distant; while at C, in 1897, the rainfall was actually 30% greater than at J only 560 ft. away. The greatly varying distribution of rainfall over that length of 1600 ft. is shown by the dotted lines measured upwards from the datum to have been remarkably consistent in the three years; and its cause the path necessarily taken in a vertical plane by the prevailing winds blowing from A towards N after passing the steep bank at C D may be readily understood. Such examples show the importance of placing any rain-gauge, so far as possible, upon a plane surface of the earth horizontal, or so inclined that, if produced, especially in the direction of prevailing winds, it will cut the mean levels of the area whose mean rainfall is intended to be represented by that gauge. It has been commonly stated that rainfall increases with the altitude. This is broadly true. A rain-cloud raised vertically upwards expands, cools and tends to precipitate; but in the actual passage of rain-clouds over the surface of the earth other influences are at work. In fig. 2 the thick line FIG. 2.

represents the profile of a vertical section crossing two ranges of hills and one valley. The arrows indicate the directions of the prevailing winds. At the extreme left the rain-clouds are thrown up, and if this were all, they would precipitate a larger proportion of the moisture 1 Since the above was written, this work has been taken over by the " British Rainfall Organization."

they contained as the altitude increased. But until the clouds rise above the hill there is an obvious countervailing tendency to compression, and in steep slopes this may reduce or entirely prevent precipitation until the summit is reached, when a fall of pressure with commotion must occur. Very high mountain ranges usually consist of many ridges, among which rain-clouds are entangled in their ascent, and in such cases precipitation towards the windward side of the main range, though on the leeward sides of the minor ridges of which it is formed, may occur to so large an extent that before the summit is reached the clouds are exhausted or nearly so, and in this case the total precipitation is less on the leeward than on the windward side of the main range; but in the moderate heights of the United Kingdom it more commonly happens from the causes explained that precipitation is prevented or greatly retarded until the summit of the ridge is reached. The following cause also contributes to the latter effect. Imagine eleven raindrops A to K to fall simultaneously and equi-distantly from the horizontal plane AM. A strong wind is urging the drops from left to right. The drops A and K maybe readily conceived to be equally diverted by the wind, and to fall near the tops of the two hills respectively. Not so drop C, for directly the summit is passed the wind necessarily widens put vertically and, having a greater space to fill, loses forward velocity. It may even eddy backwards, as indicated by the curved arrows, and it is no uncommon thing, in walking up a steep hill in the contrary direction to the flight of the clouds, to find that the rain is coming from behind. Much the same tendency exists with respect to all drops between B and E, but at F the wind has begun to accommodate itself to the new regime and to assume more regular forward motion, and as | is approached, where vertical contraction of the passage through which the wind must pass takes place, there is an increasing tendency to lift the raindrops beyond their proper limits. The general effect is that the rain falling from between G and K is spread over a greater area of the earth G'K' than that falling from the equal space between B and F, which reaches the ground within the smaller area B'F'. From this cause also, therefore, the leeward side of the valley receives more rain than the windward side. In the United Kingdom the prevailing winds are from the south-west, and some misapprehension has been caused by the- bare, but perfectly correct, statement that the general slope towards the western coast is wetter than that towards the eastern. Over the whole width of the country from coast to coast, or of the Welsh mountain ranges only, this is so; but it is nevertheless true that the leeward side of an individual valley or range of hills generally receives more rain than the windward side. Successive abstraction of raindrops as the rain-clouds pass over ridge after ridge causes a gradually diminishing precipitation, but this is generally insufficient to reverse the local conditions, which tend to the contrary effect in individual ranges. The neglect of these facts has led to many errors in estimating the mean rainfall on watershed areas from the fall observed at gauges in particular parts of those areas.

In the simplest case of a single mountain valley to be used for the supply of an impounding reservoir, the rainfall should be known at five points, three being in the axis of the valley, of which one is near the point of intersection of that axis with the boundary of the watershed. Then, in order to connect with these the effect of the right- and left-hand slopes, there should be at least one gauge on each side about the middle height, and approximately in a line perpendicular to the axis of the valley passing through the central gauge. The relative depths recorded in the several gauges depend mainly upon the direction of the valley and steepness of the bounding hills. The gauge in the bottom of the valley farthest from the source will in a wide valley generally record the least rainfall, and one of those on the south-west side, the highest. Much will depend upon the judicious placing of the gauges. Each gauge should have for 10 or 15 yds. around it an uninterrupted plane fairly representing the general level or inclination, as the case may be, of the ground for a much larger distance around it. The earliest records of such gauges should be carefully examined, and if any apparently anomalous result is obtained, the cause should be traced, and when not found in the gauge itself, or in its treatment, other gauges should be used to check it. The central gauge is useful for correcting and checking the others, but in such a perfectly simple case as the straight valley above assumed it may be omitted in calculating the results, and if the other four gauges are properly placed, the arithmetical mean of their results will probably not differ widely from the true mean for the valley. But such records carried on for a year or many years would afford no knowledge of the worst conditions that could arise in longer periods, were it not for the existence of much older gauges not far distant and subject to somewhat similar conditions. The nearer such long-period gauges are to the local gauges the more likely are their records to rise and fall in the same proportion. The work of the late Mr JamesGlaisher.F.R.S., of the lateMr G.J. Symons, F.R.S., of the Meteorological Office and of the Royal Meteorological Society, has resulted in the establishment of a vast number of raingauges in different parts of the United Kingdom, and it is generally, though not always, found that the mean rainfall over a long period can be determined, for an area upon which the actual fall is known only for a short period, by assigning to the missing years of the shortperiod gauges, rainfalls bearing the same proportion to those of corresponding years in the long-period gauges that the rainfalls of the known years in the short-period gauges bear to those of cor spending years in the long- period gauges. In making such comparisons, it is always desirable, if possible, to select as standards longperiod gauges which are so situated that the short-period district lies between them. Where suitably placed long-period gauges exist, and where care has been exercised in ascertaining the authenticit of their records and in making the comparisons, the short records c. the local gauges may be thus carried back into the long periods with nearly correct results.

Rainfall is proverbially uncertain; but it would appear from the most trustworthy records that at any given place the total rainfall during any period of 50 years will be within I or 2 % of the total rainfall at the same place during any other period of 50 years, while the records of any period of 25 years will generally be found to fall within 3$ % of the mean of 50 years. It is equally satisfactory to know that there is a nearly constant ratio on any given area ( exceeding perhaps 1000 acres) between the true mean annual rainfall, the rainfall of the driest year, the two driest consecutive years and any other groups of driest consecutive years. Thus in any period of 50 years the driest year (not at an individual gauge but upon such an area) will be about 63% of the mean for the 50 years.

That in the two driest consecutive years will be about 75 % of th mean for the 50 years.

That in the three driest consecutive years will be about 80 % of the mean for the 50 years.

That in the four driest consecutive years will be about 83 % of th mean for the 50 years.

That in the five driest consecutive years will be about 85 % of the mean for the 50 years.

That in the six driest consecutive years will be about 86J % of the mean for the 50 years.

Apart altogether from the variations of actual rainfall produced by irregular surface levels, the very small area of a single rain-gauge is subject to much greater variations in short periods than can possibly occur over larger areas. If, therefore, instead of regarding only the mean rainfall of several gauges over a series of years, we compare the relative falls in short intervals of time among gauges yielding the same general averages, the discrepancies prove to be very great, and it follows that the maximum possible intensity of discharge from different areas rapidly increases as the size of the watershed decreases. Extreme cases of local discharge are due to the phenomena known in America as " cloud-bursts,' which occasionally occur in Great Britain and result in discharges, the intensities of which have rarely been recorded by rain-gauges. The periods of such discharges are so short, their positions so isolated and the areas affected so small, that we have little or no exact knowledge concerning them, though their disastrous results are well known. They do not directly affect the question of supply, but may very seriously affect the works from which that supply is given.

Where in this article the term " evaporation " is used alone, it is to be understood to include absorption by vegetation. Of the total quantity of rainfall a very variable pro- _ ~ J Lvaporm- portion is rapidly absorbed or re-evaporated. Thus tioa and in the western mountain districts of Great Britain, absorplargely composed of nearly impermeable rocks more WoD - or less covered with pasture and moorland, the water evaporated and absorbed by vegetation is from 13 to 15 in. out of a rainfall of 80 in., or from 16 to 19%, and is nearly constant down to about 60 in., where the proportion of loss is therefore from 22 to 25%. The Severn down to Worcester, draining 1,256,000 acres of generally flatter land largely of the same lithological character, gave in the dry season from the 1st of July 1887 to the 30th of June 1888 a loss of 17-93 in- upon a rainfall of 27-34 in. or about 66%; while in the wet season, 1st of July 1882 to the 30th of June 1883, the loss was 21-09 in. upon a rainfall of 43-26 in., or only 49%. Upon the .Thames basin down to Teddington, having an area of 2,353,000 acres, the loss in the dry season from the 1st of July 1890 to the 30th of June 1891 was 17-22 in. out of a rainfall of 21-62 in., or 79%; while in the wet season, 1st of July 1888 to the 30th of June 1889, it was 18-96 out of 29-22 in., or only 65%. In the eastern counties the rainfall is lower and the evaporation approximately the same as upon the Thames area, so that the percentage of loss is greater. But these are merely broad examples and averages of many still greater variations over smaller areas. They show generally that, as the rainfall increases on any given area evaporation increases, but not in the same proportion. Again, the loss from a given rainfall depends greatly upon the previous season. An inch falling in a single day on a saturated mountain area will nearly all reach the rivers, but if it falls during a drought seven-eighths may be lost so far as the period of the drought is concerned. In such a case most of the water is absorbed by the few upper inches of soil, only to be re-evaporated during the next few days, and the small proportion which sinks into the ground probably issues in springs many months later. Thus the actual yield of rainfall to the streams depends largely upon the mode of its time-distribution, and without a knowledge of this it is impossible to anticipate the yield of a particular rainfall. In estimating the evaporation to be deducted from the rainfall for the purpose of determining the flow into a reservoir, it is important to bear in mind that the loss from a constant water surface is nearly one and a half times as great as from the intermittently saturated land surface. Even neglecting the isolated and local discharges due to excessive and generally unrecorded rainfall, the variation in the discharge of all streams, and especially of mountain streams, is very great. We have seen that the average flow from mountain areas in Great Britain towards the end of a dry season does not exceed one-fifth of a cubic foot per second per 1000 acres. Adopting this general minimum as the unit, we find that the flow from such areas up to about 5000 acres, whose mean annual rainfall exceeds 50 in., may be expected occasionally to reach 300 cub. ft., or 1500 such units; while from similar areas of 20,000 or 30,000 acres with the same mean rainfall the discharge sometimes reaches 1 200 or 1300 such units. It is well to compare these results with those obtained from much larger areas but with lower mean rainfall. The Thames at Teddington has been continuously gauged by the Thames Conservators since 1883, and the Severn at Worcester by the writer, on behalf of the corporation of Liverpool, during the 10 years 1881 to 1890 inclusive. The highest flood, common to the two periods, was that which occurred in the middle of February 1883. On that occasion the Thames records gave a discharge of 7-6 cub. ft. per second per 1000 acres, and the Severn records a discharge of 8-6 cub. ft. per second per 1000 acres, or 38 and 43 respectively of the above units; while in February 1881, before the Thames gaugings were commenced, the Severn had risen to 47 of such units, and subsequently in May 1886 rose to 50 such units, though the Thames about the same time only rose to 13. But in November 1894 the Thames rose to about 80 such units, and old records on the Severn bridges show that that river must on many occasions have risen to considerably over too units. In both these cases the natural maximum discharge is somewhat diminished by the storage produced by artificial canalization of the rivers.

These illustrations of the enormous variability of discharge serve to explain what is popularly so little understood, namely, the advantage which riparian owners, or other persons interested in a given stream, may derive from works constructed primarily for the purpose of diverting the water of that stream it may be to a totally different watershed for the purposes of a town supply. Under modern legislation no such abstraction of water is usually allowed, even if limited to times of flood, except on condition of an augmentation of the natural dry-weather flow, and this condition at once involves the construction of a reservoir. The water supplied to the stream from such a reservoir is known as " compensation water," and is generally a first charge upon the works. This water is usually given as a continuous and uniform flow, but in special cases, for the convenience of millowners, as an intermittent one. 1 In the manufacturing districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire it generally amounts to one-third of the whole so-called " available supply." In Wales it is usually about one-fourth, and elsewhere still less; but in any case it amounts to many times the above unit of one-fifth of a cubic foot per second per 1000 acres. Thus the benefit to the fisheries and to the riparian owners generally is beyond all question; but the cost to the water authority of conferring that benefit is also very great commonly (according to the proportion of the natural flow intended to be rendered uniform) 20 to 35% of 1 The volume of compensation water is usually fixed as a given fraction of the so-called " available supply " (which by a convention that has served its purpose well, is understood to be the average flow of the stream during the three consecutive driest years).

the whole expenditure upon the reservoir works. Down to the middle of the 19th century, the proportioning of the size of a reservoir to its work was a very rough operation, yit/dof There were few rainfall statistics, little was known stream of the total loss by evaporation, and still less of its ** distribution over the different periods of dry and n * crvolr - wet weather. Certain general principles have since been laid down, and within the proper limits of their application have proved excellent guides. In conformity with the above- mentioned convention (by which compensation water is determined as a certain fraction of the average flow during the three driest consecutive years) the available supply or flow from a given area is still understood to be the average annual rainfall during those years, less the corresponding evaporation and absorption by vegetation. But this is evidently only the case when the reservoir impounding the water from such an area is of just sufficient capacity to equalize that flow without possible exhaustion in any one of the three summers. If the reservoir were larger it might equalize the flow of the four or more driest consecutive years, which would be somewhat greater than that of the three; if smaller, we might only be able to count upon the average of the flow t>f the two driest consecutive years, and there are many reservoirs which will not yield continuously the average flow of the stream even in the single driest year. With further experience it has become obvious that very few reservoirs are capable of equalizing the full flow of the three consecutive driest years, and each engineer, in estimating the yield of such reservoirs, has deducted from the quantity ascertained on the assumption that they do so, a certain quantity representing, according to his judgment, the overflow which in one or more of such years might be lost from the reservoir. The actual size of the reservoir which would certainly yield the assumed supply throughout the driest periods has therefore been largely a matter of judgment. Empirical rules have grown up assigning to each district, according to its average rainfall, a particular number of days' supply, independently of any inflow, as the contents of the reservoir necessary to secure a given yield throughout the driest seasons. But any such generalizations are dangerous and have frequently led to disappointment and sometimes to needless expenditure. The exercise of sound judgment in such matters will always be necessary, but it is nevertheless important to formulate, so far as possible, the conditions upon which that judgment should be based. Thus in order to determine truly the continuously available discharge of any stream, it is necessary to know not only the mean flow of the stream, as represented by the rainfall less the evaporation, but also the least favourable distribution of that flow throughout any year.

The most trying time-distribution of which the author has had experience in the United Kingdom, or which he has been able to discover from a comparison of rainfalls upon nearly impermeable areas exceeding 1000 acres, is graphically represented by the thick irregular line in the left-hand half of fig. 3, where the total flow for the driest year measures 100 on the vertical percentage scale; the horizontal time scale being divided into calendar months.

The diagram applies to ordinary areas suitable for reservoir construction and in which the minimum flow of the stream reaches about one-fifth of a cubic foot per second per 1000 acres. Correspondingly, the straight line o a represents uniformly distributed supply, also cumulatively recorded, of the same quantity of water over the same period. But, apart from the diurnal fluctuations of consumption which may be equalized by local " service reservoirs," uniform distribution of supply throughout twelve months is rarely what we require; and to represent the demand in most towns correctly, we should increase the angle of this line to the horizontal during the summer and diminish it during the winter months, as indicated by the dotted lines b b. The most notable features of this particular diagram are as follows: Up to the end of 59 days (to the 28th February) the rate of flow is shown, by the greater steepness of the thick line, to be greater than the mean for the year, and the surplus water about 1 1 % of the flow during the year must be stored ; but during the 184 days between this and the end of the 24^rd day (jjist August) the rate of flow is generally below the mean, while from that day to the end of the year it is again for the most part above the mean. Now, in order that a reservoir may enable the varying flow, represented cumulatively by the irregular line, to be discharged in a continuous and uniform flow to satisfy a demand represented cumulatively by the straight line a a, its capacity must be such that it will hold not only the II % surplus of the same year, but that, on June loth, when this surplus has been used to satisfy the demand, it will still contain the water c d 19% stored from a previous year; otherwise between June loth and August 3ist the reservoir will be empty and only the dry weather flow of the stream will be available for supply. In short, if the reservoir is to equalize the whole flow of this year, it must have a capacity equal to the greatest deficiency c d of the cumulative flow below the cumulative demand, plus the greatest excess efof the cumulative flow over the cumulative demand. This capacity is represented by the height of the line a'a' (drawn parallel to a a from the point of maximum surplus/) vertically above the point of greatest deficiency c, and equal, on the vertical scale, to the difference between the height = 48% and 2 = 78% or 30% of the stream-flow during the driest year. A reservoir so proportioned to the stream-flow with a proper addition to avoid drawing off the bottom water, would probably be safe in Great Britain in any year

for a uniform demand equal to the cumulative stream-flow; or, if it failed, that failure would be of very short duration, and would probably only occur once in 50 years.

It may be at first sight objected that a case is assumed in which there is no overflow before the reservoir begins to fall, and therefore no such loss as generally occurs from that cause. This is true, but it is only so because we have made our reservoir large enough to contain in addition to its stock of 19%, at the beginning of the year, all the surplus water that passes during the earlier months in this driest year with its least favourable time-distribution of flow. Experience shows, in fact, that if a different distribution of the assumed rainfall occurs, that distribution will not try the reservoir more severely while the hitherto assumed uniform rate of demand is maintained. But, as above stated, the time-distribution of demand is never quite uniform. The particular drought shown on the diagram is the result of an exceptionally early deficiency of rainfall which, in conjunction with the variation of demand shown by the dotted line b b, is the most trying condition. The reservoir begins to fall at the end of February, and continues to do so with few and short exceptions until the end of August, and it so happens that about the end of August this dotted line, 6 b representing actual cumulative demand, crosses the straight line a a of uniform demand, so that the excess of demand, represented by the slope from June to September, is balanced by the deficiency of demand, represented by the flatter slope in the first five months, except as regards the small quantity b e near the end of February, which, not having been drawn off during January and February, must overflow before the end of February. To avoid this loss the 1 1 % is in this case to be increased by the small quantity b e determined by examination of the variation of the actual from a constant demand.

After the reservoir begins to fall in this case at the end of February no ordinary change in the variation of demand can affect the question, subject of course to the cumulative demand not exceeding the reservoir yield for the assumed year of minimum rainfall. In assuming a demand at the beginning of the year below the mean, resulting in an overflow equal in this case to b e at the end of February and increasing our reservoir to meet it, we assume also that some additional supply to that reservoir beyond the 1 1 % of the streamflow from the driest year can be obtained from the previous year. In relation to this supply from the previous year the most trying assumption is that the rainfall of that year, together with that of the driest year, will be the rainfall of the two driest consecutive years. We have already seen that while the rainfall of the driest of 50 years is about 63 % of the mean, that of the driest two consecutive years is about 75 % of the mean. It follows, therefore, that the year immediately preceding the driest cannot have a rainfall less than about 87 % of the mean. As the loss by evaporation is a deduction lying between a constant figure and a direct proportional to the rainfall, we should err on the safe side in assuming the flow in the second driest year to be increased proportionally to the rainfall, or by the difference between 63 and 87 equal to 24% of the mean of 50 years. This 24 % of the 50 years' mean now is 38 % of the driest year's flow in fig. 3, and is therefore much more than sufficient to ensure the reservoir beginning the driest year with a stock equal to the greatest deficiency 19% of the cumulative flow of that year beyond the cumulative demand.

But in determining the capacity of reservoirs intended to yield a supply of water equal to the mean flow of two, three or more years, the error, though on the safe side, caused by assuming the evaporation to be proportional to the rainfall, is too great to be neglected. The evaporation slightly increases as the rainfall increases, but at nothing like so high a rate. Having determined this evaporation for the second driest consecutive year and deducted it from the rainfall which, as above stated, cannot be less than 87 % of the mean of 50 years we may, as shown on fig. 3, extend our cumulative diagram of demand and flow into the reservoir from one to two years.

The whole diagram shows, by the greater gradient of the unbroken straight lines, the greater demand which can be satisfied by the enlargement of the reservoir to the extent necessary to equalize the flow of the two driest consecutive years. The new capacity is either c A or c' ti, whichever, in the particular case under investigation, is the greater. In the illustration the c' h' is a little greater, measuring 47! % of the flow of the driest year. In the same way we may group in a single diagram any number of consecutive driest years, and either ascertain the reservoir capacity necessary for a given uniform yield (represented cumulatively by a straight line corresponding with a'a! , but drawn over all the years instead of one), or conversely, having set up a vertical from the most trying point in the line of cumulative flow (c or c' in fig. 3 representing, in percentage of the total annual flow of the driest year, the capacity of reservoir which it may be convenient to provide) we may draw a straight line a'" a'" of uniform yield from the head of that vertical to the previous point of maximum excess of cumulative flow. The line a" a" drawn from zero parallel to the first line, produced to the boundaries of the diagram, will cut the vertical at the end of the first year at the percentage of the driest year's flow which may be safely drawn continuously from the reservoir throughout the two years. It is to be observed that any irregularity in the rate of supply from the reservoir may occur between the critical periods of maximum excess of cumulative flow and maximum deficiency DIAGRAM Or RESERVOIR CAPACITY AND YIELD :-/>/ net AT/ON TO FLOW or STREAM excesses t/* TERMS or *A,*rAu.

. The figures in the right-hand column at the ends of the curved lines are inches of mean annual rainfall over a period of 50 years.

The co-ordinates to any point upon any curved line give respectively the required reservoir capacity and daily yield in gallons per acre of drainage area, corresponding with the mean annual rainfall represented by that curved line, The curves have been drawn for a mean annual evaporation of 14 in. For any increased rate of evaporation i% in. are to be subtracted from the rainfall for each inch of evaporation above 14 in. For any decreased rate of evaporation i % in. are to be added to the rainfall for each inch of evaporation below 14 in.

Any excess of evaporation from the water surface and allowance for bottom water are to be added to the storage so found.

The period over which the reservoir equalizes the flow is shown by the number of years marked on the straight radial lines.

Where the absolute minimum stream flow is known to be greater than the minimum of Jcubicfoot persecond per 1000 acres (loSgallons per ncre per day) assumed in the diagram, the capacity of the reservoir as taken from thediagram may be reduced by the amount corresponding to that minimum flow for the particular rainfall and evaporation.


of cumulative flow (/ and c respectively, in the one year diagram) which does not increase the aggregate cumulative supply between those points, or cause the line of cumulative supply from the reservoir to cut the line of cumulative flow into it.

From diagrams constructed upon these principles, the general diagram (fig. 4) has been produced. To illustrate its use, assume the case of a mean rainfall of 50 in., figured in the tight-hand column at the end of a curved line, and of 14 in. of evaporation and absorption by vegetation as stated in the note on the diagram. The ordinate to any point upon this curved line then represents on the left-hand scale the maximum continuous yield per day for each acre of drainage area, from a reservoir whose capacity is equal to the corresponding abscissa. As an example, assume that we can conveniently construct a reservoir to contain, in addition to bottom water not to be used, 200,000 gallons for each acre of the watershed above the point of interception by the proposed dam. We find on the left-hand scale of yield that the height of the ordinate drawn to the so-inch mean rainfall curve from 200,000 on the capacity scale, is 1457 gallons per day per acre; and the straight radial line, which cuts the point of intersection of the curved line and the co-ordinates, tells us that this reservoir will equalize the flow of the two driest consecutive years. Similarly, if we wish to equalize the flow of the three driest consecutive years we change the co-ordinates to the radial line figured 3, and thus find that the available capacity of the reservoir must be 276,000 gallons per acre, and that in consideration of the additional expense of such a reservoir we shall increase the daily yield to 1612 gallons per acre. In the same manner it will be found that by means of a reservoir having an available capacity of only 118,000 gallons per acre of the watershed, we may with the same rainfall and evaporation secure a daily supply of 1085 gallons per acre. In this case the left-hand radial line passes through the point at which the coordinates meet, showing that the reservoir will just equalize the flow of the driest year. Similarly, the yield from any given reservoir, or the capacity required for any yield, corresponding with any mean rainfall from 30 to too in., and with the flow over any period, from the driest year to the six or more consecutive driest years, may be determined from the diagram.

It is instructive to note the ratio of increase of reservoir capacity and yield respectively for any given rainfall. Thus, assuming a mean rainfall of 60 in. during 50 years, subject to evaporation and absorption equal to 14 in. throughout the dry period under consideration, we find from the diagram the following quantities (in gallons per acre of drainage area) and corresponding ratios :

Net Capacity of Reservoir.

Yield of Reservoir.

Ill-o T> x s Jj a a '3 .

i t~, u O.

o tt'o'a ~|1| rt ^ & |ll- a r (I)




162,000 1zz 475 1zz 56,OOO 158-0 58-0 1922 130-3 30-3 352,000 217-3 37-5 2108 142-9 1zz l6,OOO 256-8 18-2 2220 150-5 1zz 66,000 287-7 12-0 2294 155-5 1zz 04,000 311-1 1zz 350 159-3 On comparing columns 3 and 6 or 4 and 7 it appears that so great is the increase required in the size of a reservoir in relation to its increased yield, that only in the most favourable places for reservoir construction, or under the most pressing need, can it be worth while to go beyond the capacity necessary to render uniform the flow of the two or three driest consecutive years.

It must be clearly understood that the diagram fig. 4 does not relieve the reader from any exercise of judgment, except as regards the net capacity of reservoirs when the necessary data have been obtained. It is merely a geometrical determination of the conditions necessarily consequent in England, Scotland and Wales, upon a given mean rainfall over many years, upon evaporation and absorption in particular years (both of which he must judge or determine for himself), and upon certain limiting variations of the rainfall, already stated to be the result of numerous records maintained in Great Britain for more than 50 years. It must also be remembered that the total capacity of a reservoir must be greater than its net available capacity, in order that in the driest seasons fish life may be maintained and no foul water may be drawn off.

Applied to most parts of Ireland and some parts of Great Britain, the diagram will give results rather unduly on the safe side, as the extreme annual variations of rainfall are less than in most parts of Great Britain. Throughout Europe the annual variations follow nearly the same law as in Great Britain, but in some parts the distribution of rainfall in a single year is often more trying. The droughts are longer, and the rain, when it falls, especially along the Springs and shallow wells.

Mediterranean coast, is often concentrated into shorter periods. Moreover, it often falls upon sun-heated rocks, thus increasing the evaporation for the time; but gaugings made by the writer in. the northern Apennines indicate that this loss is more than compensated by the greater rapidity of the fall and of the consequent flow. In such regions, therefore, for reservoirs equalizing the flow of 2 or more years, the capacity necessary does not materially differ from that required in Great Britain. As the tropics are approached, even in mountain districts, the irregularities become greater, and occasionally the rainy season is entirely absent for a single year, though the mean rainfall is considerable.

We have hitherto dealt only with the collection and sto: of that portion of the rainfall which flows over the surface of nearly impermeable areas. Upon such areas the loss by percolation into the ground, not retrieved in the form of springs above the point of interception may be neglected, and the only loss to the stream is that already considered of re-evaporation into the air and of absorption by vegetation. But the crust of the earth varies from almost complete impermeability to almost complete permeability. Among the sedimentary rocks we have, for example, in the clay slates of the Silurian formations, rocks no less cracked and fissured than others, but generally quite impermeable by reason of the joints being packed with the very fine clay resulting from the rubbing of slate upon slate in the earth movements to which the cracks are due. In the New Red Sandstone, the Greensand and the upper Chalk, we find the opposite extremes; while the igneous rocks are for the most part only permeable in virtue of the open fissures they contain. Wherever, below the surface, there are pores or open fissures, water derived from rainfall is (except in the rare cases of displacement by gas) found at levels above the sea determined by the resistance of solids to its passage towards some neighbouring sea, lake or watercourse. Any such level is commonly known as the level of saturation. The positions of springs are determined by permeable depressions in the surface of the ground below the general level of saturation, and frequently also by the holding up of that level locally by comparatively impermeable strata, sometimes combined with a fault or a synclinal fold of the strata, forming the more permeable portion into an underground basin or channel lying within comparatively impermeable boundaries. At the lower lips or at the most permeable parts of these basins or channels such rainfall as does not flow over the surface, or is not evaporated or absorbed by vegetation, and does not, while still below ground reach the level of the sea, issues as springs, and is the cause of the continued flow of rivers and streams during prolonged droughts. The average volume in dry weather, of such flow, generally reduced to terms of the fraction of a cubic foot per second, per thousand acres of the contributing area, is commonly known in water engineering as the " dry weather flow " and its volume at the end of the dry season as the " extreme dry weather flow."

Perennial springs of large volume rarely occur in Great Britain at a sufficient height to afford supplies by gravitation; but from the limestones of Italy and many other parts of the world very considerable volumes issue far above the sea-level, and are thus available, without pumping, for the supply of distant towns. On a small scale, however, springs are fairly distributed over the United Kingdom, for there are no formations, except perhaps blown sand, which do not vary greatly in their resistance to the percolation of water, and therefore tend to produce overflow from underground at some points above the valley levels. But even the rural populations have generally found surface springs insufficiently constant for their use and have adopted the obvious remedy of sinking wells. Hence, throughout the world we find the shallow well still very common in rural districts. The shallow well, however, rarely supplies enough water for more than a few houses, and being commonly situated near to those houses the water is often seriously polluted. Deep wells owe their comparative immunity from pollution to the circumstances that the larger quantity of water yielded renders it worth while to pump that water and convey it by pipes from comparatively unpolluted areas; and that any impurities in the water must have passed through a considerable depth, and by far the larger part of them through a great length of filtering material, and must have taken so long a time to reach the well that their organic character has disappeared. The principal water-bearing formations, utilized in Great Britain by means of deep wells, are the Chalk and the New Red Sandstone. The Upper and Middle Chalk are permeable almost through their mass. They hold water like a sponge, but part with it under pressure to fissures by which they are intersected, and, in the case of the Upper Chalk, to ducts following beds of flints. A well sunk in these formations without striking any fissure or water-bearing flint bed, receives water only at a very slow rate; but if, on the other hand, it strikes one or more of the natural water-ways, the quantity of water capable of being drawn from it will be greatly increased.

It is a notable peculiarity of the Upper and Middle Chalk formations that below their present valleys the underground water passes more freely than elsewhere. This is explained by the fact that the Chalk fissures are almost invariably rounded and enlarged by the erosion of carbonic acid carried from the surface by the water passing through them. These fissures take the place of the streams in an impermeable area, and those beneath the valleys must obviously be called upon to discharge more water from the surface, and thus be brought in contact with more carbonic acid, than similar fissures elsewhere. Hence the best position for a well in the Chalk is generally that over which, if the strata were impermeable, the largest quantity of surface water would flow. The Lower Chalk formation is for the most part impermeable, though it contains many ruptures and dislocations or smashes, in the interstices of which large bodies of water, received from the Upper and Middle Chalk, may be naturally stored, or which may merely form passages for water derived from the Upper Chalk. Thus despite the impermeability of its mass large springs are occasionally found to issue from the Lower Chalk. A striking example is that known as Lydden Spout, under Abbot's Cliff, near Dover. In practice it is usual in chalk formations to imitate artificially the action of such underground watercourses, by driving from the well small tunnels, or " adits " as they are called, below the water-level, to intercept fissures and water-bearing beds, and thus to extend the collecting area.

Next in importance to the Chalk formations as a source of underground water supply comes the Trias or New Red Sandstone, consisting in Great Britain of two main divisions, the Keuper above and the Bunter below. With the exception of the Red Marls forming the upper part of the Keuper, most of the New Red Sandstone is permeable, and some parts contain, when saturated, even more water than solid chalk; but, just as in the case of the chalk, a well or borehole in the sandstone yields very little water unless it strikes a fissure; hence, in New Red Sandstone, also, it is a common thing to form underground chambers or adits in search of additional fissures, and sometimes to sink many vertical boreholes with the same object in view.

As the formation approaches the condition of pure sand, the water-bearing property of any given mass increases, but the difficulty of drawing water from it without admixture of sand also increases. In sand below water there are, of course, no open fissures, and even if adits could be usefully employed, the cost of constructing and lining them through the loose sand would be prohibitive. The well itself must be lined; and its yield is therefore confined to such water as can be drawn through the sides or the bottom of the lining without setting up a sufficient velocity to cause any sand to flow with the water. Hence it arises that, in sand formations, only shallow wells or small boreholes are commonly found. Imagine for a moment that the sand grains were by any means rendered immobile without change in the permeability of their interspaces; we could then dispense with the iron or brickwork lining of the well ; but as there would still be no cracks or fissures to extend the area of percolating water exposed to the open well, the yield would be very small. Obviously, it must be very much smaller when the lining necessary to hold up loose sand is used, tlncemented brickwork, or perforated ironwork, are Wells la the usual materials employed for lining the well and holding up the sand, and the quantity of water drawn is kept below the comparatively small quantity necessary to produce a velocity, through the joints or orifices, capable of disturbing the sand. The rate of increase of velocity towards any isolated aperture through which water passes into the side of a well sunk in a deep bed of sand is, in the neighbourhood of that aperture, inversely proportional to the square of the distance therefrom. Thus, the velocity across a little hemisphere of sand only i in. radius covering a i-in. orifice in the lining is more than 1000 times the mean velocity of the same water approaching the orifice radially when 16 in. therefrom. This illustration gives some idea of the enormous increase of yield of such a well, if, by any means, we can get rid of the frictional sand, even from within the 16 in. radius. We cannot do this, but happily the grains in a sand formation differ very widely in diameter, and if, from the interstices between the larger grains in the neighbourhood of an orifice, we can remove the finer grains, the resistance to flow of water is at once enormously reduced. This was for the first time successfully done in a well, constructed by the Biggleswade Water Board in 1902, and now supplying water over a large area of North Bedfordshire. This well, 10 ft. diameter, was sunk through about no ft. of surface soil, glacial drift and impermeable gault clay and thence passed for a further depth of 70 ft. into the Lower Greensand formation, the outcrop of which, emerging on the south-eastern shore of the Wash, passes south-westwards, and in Bedfordshire attains a thickness exceeding 250 ft. The formation is probably more or less permeable throughout; it consists largely of loose sand and takes the general south-easterly dip of British strata. The Biggleswade well was sunk by processes better known in connexion with the sinking of mine shafts and foundations of bridges across the deep sands or gravels of bays, estuaries and great rivers. Its full capacity has not been ascertained; it much exceeds the present pumping power, and is probably greater than that of any other single well unassisted by adits or boreholes. This result is mainly due to the reduction of frictional resistance to the passage of water through the sand in the immediate neighbourhood of the well, by washing out the finer particles of sand and leaving only the coarser particles. For this purpose the lower 45 ft. of the cast-iron cylinders forming the well was provided with about 660 small orifices lined with gun-metal tubes or rings, each armed with numerous thicknesses of copper wire gauze, and temporarily closed with screwed plugs. On the removal of any plug, this wire gauze prevented the sand from flowing with the water into the well; but while the finer particles of sand remained in the neighbourhood of the orifice, the flow of water through the contracted area was very small. To remove this obstruction the water was pumped out while the plugs kept the orifices closed. A flexible pipe, brought down from a steam boiler above, was then connected with any opened orifice. This pipe was provided, close to the orifice, with a three-way cock, by means of which the steam might be first discharged into the sand, and the current between the cock and the well then suddenly reversed and diverted into the well. The effect of thus alternately forcing high-pressure steam among the sand, and of discharging high-pressure water contained in the sand into the well, is to break up any cohesion of the sand, and to allow all the finer particles in the neighbourhood of the orifice to rush out with the water through the wire gauze into the well. This process, in effect, leaves each orifice surrounded by a hemisphere of coarse sand across which the water flows with comparative freedom from a larger hemisphere where the corresponding velocity is very slow, and where the presence of finer and more obstructive particles is therefore unimportant. Many orifices through which water at first only dribbled were thus caused to discharge water with great force, and entirely free from sand, against the opposite side of the well, while the general result was to increase the inflow of water many times, and to entirely prevent the intrusion of sand. Where, however, a firm rock of any kind is encountered, the yield of a well (under a given head of water) can only be increased by enlargement / of the main well in depth or diameter, or by boreholes or adits. No rule as to the adoption of any one of these courses can be laid down, nor is it possible, without examination of each particular case, to decide whether it is better to attempt to increase the yield of the well or to construct an additional well some distance away. By lowering the head of water in any well which draws its supply from porous rock, the yield is always temporarily increased. Every well has its own particular level of water while steady pumping at a given rate is going on, and if that level is lowered by harder pumping, it may take months, or even years, for the water hi the interstices of the rock to accommodate itself to the new conditions; but the permanent yield after such lowering will always be less than the quantity capable of being pumped shortly after the change. We have hitherto supposed the pumps for drawing the water to have been placed in the well at such a level as to be accessible, while the suction pipe only is below water. Pumps, however, bohoi's mav ^ e ( an< * nave been) placed deep down in boreholes, so that water may be pumped from much greater depths. By this means the head of pressure in the boreholes tending to hold the water back in the rock is reduced, and the supply consequently increased; but when the cost of maintenance is included, the increased supply from the adoption of this method rarely justifies expectations. When the water has been drawn down by pumping to a lower level its passage through the sandstone or chalk in the neighbourhood of the borehole is further resisted by the smaller length of borehole below the water; and there are many instances in which repeated lowering and increased pumping, both from wells and boreholes, have had the result of reducing the water available, after a few years, nearly to the original quantity. One other method the ; / use ^ t ^ ie so " ca ^ e< ^ " air-lift " should be mentioned.

This ingenious device originated in America. The object attained by the air-lift is precisely the same as that attained by putting a pump some distance down a borehole; but instead of the head being reduced by means of the pump, it is reduced by mixing the water with air. A pipe is passed down the borehole to the desired depth, and connected with air-compressors at the surface. The compressors being set to work, the air is caused to issue from the lower end of the pipe and to mix in fine bubbles with the rising column of water, sometimes several hundred feet in height. The weight of the column of water, or rather of water and air mixed, is thus greatly reduced. The method will therefore always increase the yield for the time, and it may do so permanently, though to a very much smaller extent than at first; but its economy must always be less than that of direct pumping.

In considering the principles of well supplies it is important to bear the following facts in mind. The crust of the earth, so far as it is permeable and above the sea-level, receives from rainfall its supply of fresh water. That supply, so far as it is not evaporated or absorbed by vegetation, passes away by the streams or rivers, or sinks into the ground. If the strata were uniformly porous the water would lie in the rock at different depths below the surface according to the previous quantity and distribution of the rainfall. It would slowly, but constantly, percolate downwards and towards the sea, and would ooze out at or below the sea-level, rarely regaining the earth's surface earlier except in deep valleys. Precisely the same thing happens in the actual crust of the earth, except that, in the formations usually met with, the strata are so irregularly permeable that no such uniform percolation occurs, and most of the water, instead of oozing out near the sea-level, meets with obstructions which cause it to issue, sometimes below the sea-level and sometimes above it, in the form of concentrated springs. After prolonged and heavy rainfall the upper boundary of the sub-soil water is, except in high ground, nearly coincident with the surface. After prolonged droughts it still retains more or less the same figure as the surface, but at lower depths and always with less pronounced differences of level.

Sedimentary rocks, formed below the sea or salt lagoons, must originally have contained salt water in their interstices.

On the upheaval of such rocks above the sea-level, fresh wat from rainfall began to flow over their exposed surfaces, and so far as the strata were permeable, to lie in their saline interstices upon the salt water. The weight of the water original salt water above the sea-level, and of the fresh below water so superimposed upon it, caused an overflow Kfouaa. towards the sea. A hill, as it were, of fresh water rested in the interstices of the rock upon the salt water, and continuing to press downwards, forced out the salt water even below the leve of the sea. Subject to the rock being porous this process would be continued until the greater column of the lighter fresh water balanced the smaller head of sea water. It would conceivably take but a small fraction of the period that has in most cases elapsed since such upheavals occurred for the salt water to be thus displaced by fresh water, and for the condition to be attained as regards saturation with fresh water, in which with few exceptions we now find the porous portions of the earth's crust wherever the rainfall exceeds the evaporation. There are cases, however, as in the valley of the Jordan, where the ground is actually below the sea-level, and where, as the tota evaporation is equal to or exceeds the rainfall, the lake surface also are below the sea-level. Thus, if there is any percolation between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, it must be towards the latter. There are cases also where sedimentary rocks, fornied below the sea or salt lagoons, are almost impermeable: thus the salt deposited in parts of the Upper Keuper of the New Red Sandstone, is protected by the red marls of the formation, and has never been washed out. It is now worked as an important industry in 'Cheshire.

Perhaps the most instructive cases of nearly uniform percolation in nature are those which occur in some islands or peninsulas formed wholly of sea sand. Here water is maintained above the sea-level by the annual rainfall, and may be drawn off by wells or borings. On such an island, in the centre of which a borehole is put down, brackish water may be reached far below the sea-level; the salt water forming a saucer, as it were, in which the fresh water lies. Such a saltwater saucer of fresh water is maintained full to overflowing by the rainfall, and owing to the frictional resistance of the sand and to capillary action and the fact that a given column of fresh water is balanced by a shorter column of sea water, the fresh water never sinks to the mean sea-level unless artificially abstracted.

Although such uniformly permeable sand is rarely met with in great masses, it is useful to consider in greater detail so simple a case. Let the irregular thick line in fig. 5 be the section of a circular island a mile and a quarter in diameter, of uniformly permeable sand.

Virtual sca?t ISfbnrt lanottuiKnat grtdf. Diumfterofulantt ftHil>y Oder ana larfenataKf \J FIG. 5.

The mean sea-level is shown by the horizontal line aa, dotted where it passes through the land, and the natural mean level of saturation 66, above the sea-level, by a curved dot and dash line. The water, contained in the interstices of the sand above the mean sea-level, would (except in so far as a film, coating the sand particles, is held up by capillary attraction) gradually .sink to the sea-level if there were no rainfall. The resistance to its passage through the sand is, however, sufficiently great to prevent this from occurring while percolation of annual rainfall takes place.

Hence we may suppose that a condition has been attained in which the denser salt water below and around the saucer CC (greatly exaggerated in vertical scale) balances the less dense, but deeper fresh water within it. Next suppose a well to be sunk in the middle of the island, and a certain quantity of water to be drawn therefrom daily. For small supplies such a well may be perfectly successful; but however small the quantity drawn, it must obviously have the i of diminishing the volume of fresh water, which contributes to the maintenance of the level of saturation above the sea-level; and with further pumping the fresh water would be so far drawn upon that the mean level of saturation would sink, first to a curved figure a cone of depression such as that represented by the new level of saturation ad, and later to the figure represented by the lines ee, in which the level of saturation has everywhere been drawn below the mean sea-level. Before this stage the converse process begins, the reduced column of fresh water is no longer capable of balancing the sea water in the sand, inflow occurs at c and e, resulting finally in the well water becoming saline. The figure, in this case of uniform percolation, assumed by the water in the neighbourhood of a deep well is a surface of revolution, and, however irregular the percolation and the consequent shape of the figure, it is commonly, but somewhat incorrectly, called the " cone of depression. " It cannot have straight, or approximately straight, sides in any vertical plane, but in nature is an exceedingly irregular figure drawn about curves not unlike those in fig. 5. In this case, as in that of a level plane of uniformly porous sand, the vertical section of the figure is tangential to the vi-rt ical well and to the natural level of the subsoil water.

The importance of this illustration is to be found elsewhere than in islands, or peninsulas, or in uniformly porous sand. Where the strata are not uniformly porous, they may resist the passage of water from the direction of the sea or they may assist it ; and round the whole coast of England, in the Magnesian limestone to the northeast, in the Chalk and Greensand to the east and south., and in the New Red Sandstone to the west, the number of wells which have been abandoned as sources of potable supply, owing to the percolation of sea water, is very great. Perhaps the first important cases occurred in the earlier part of the 19th century on the Lancashire shore of the Mersey estuary, where, one after another, deep wells in the New Red Sandstone had to be abandoned for most purposes. On the opposite side, in the Cheshire peninsula, the total quantity of water drawn has been much less, but even here serious warnings have been received. In 1895 the single well then supplying Eastbourne was almost suddenly rendered unfit for use, and few years pass without some similar occurrence of a more or less serious kind. The remarkable suddenness with which such changes are brought about is not to be wondered at when the true cause is considered. The action of sandstone in filtering salt waters was investigated in 1878 by Dr Isaac Roberts, F.R.S., who showed that when salt water was allowed to percolate blocks of sandstone, the effluent was at first nearly fresh, the salt being filtered out and crystallized for the most part near the surface of ingress to the sandstone. As the process continued the salt-saturated layer, incapable of further effective filtration, grew in thickness downwards, until in the iprocess of time it filled the whole mass of sandstone. But before this was accomplished the filtration of the effluent became defective, and brackish water was received, which rapidly increased nearly to the saltness of the inflow. Into such blocks, charged with salt crystals and thoroughly dried, fresh water was then passed, and precisely the converse process took place. A thickness of only 12 in. of Bunter sandstone proved at first to be capable of removing more than 80% of the chlorides from sea water; but, after the slow passage of only 0-6 gallon through I cub. ft. of stone, the proportion removed fell to 8-51 %. The general lesson to be learned from these facts is, that if the purity of the water of any well not far removed from the sea is to be maintained, that water must not be pumped down much below the sea-level. In short, the quantity of water drawn must in no case be allowed to exceed the quantity capable of being supplied to the well through the medium of the surrounding soil and rock, by rain falling upon the surface of the land. If it exceeds this, the stock of fresh water held in the interstices of the rock, and capable of flowing towards the well, must disappear; and the deficit between the supply and &*/>' demand can only be made up by water filtering from the sea -^Si'i W .- and reaching the well at first quite free from salt, but sooner V or later in a condition unfit for use.

river water whatever. Thus natural or artificial surfaces which are completely permeable to rainfall may become almost impermeable when protected by surface water from drought and frost, and from earth-worms, vegetation and artificial disturbance. The cause of this choking of the pores is precisely the same as that described below in the case of sand filters. But in order that the action may be complete the initial resistance to percolation of water at every part of the soil must be such that the motion of the water through it shall be insufficient to disturb the water-borne mineral and organic particles lodged on the surface or in the interstices of the soil. If, therefore, a reservoir so formed survives the first few years without serious leakage, it is not likely, in the absence of artificial disturbance, to succumb owing to leakage at a later period. Hence, as the survival of the fittest, there are many artificial waters, with low dams consisting exclusively of earth and sometimes very sandy earth satisfactorily performing their functions with no visible leakage. But it is never advisable to rely upon this action, where, as in the case of a reservoir for water supply, large portions of naturally permeable bottom are liable to be uncovered and exposed to the weather.

The most important dams are those which close the outlets of existing valleys, but a dam may be wholly below ground, and according to the commoner method of construction in Great Britain, wherever sufficiently impermeable rising ground is not met with at the intended boundary of a reservoir, a trench is cut along such portion, and carried down to rock or such other formation as, in the engineer's opinion, forms a sufficiently impermeable sheet beneath the whole surface to be covered with water. Into this trench socalled " puddled clay," that is, clay rendered plastic by kneading with water, is filled and thoroughly worked with special tools, and trodden in layers. In this manner an underground compartment is formed, the bottom of which is natural, and the sides partly natural and partly artificial, both offering high resistance to the passage of water. Above ground, if the water level is to be higher than the natural boundary, the same puddle walls or cores are carried up to the required level, and are supported as they rise by embankments of earth on either side.

Fig. 6 is a typical section of a low dam of this class, impounding water upon gravel overlying impermeable clay. In such a structure the whole attention as regards water-tightness should be concentrated upon the puddle wall or core. When, as may happen in dry seasons, the puddle wall remains long above the water level, it parts with moisture and contracts. It is essential that this contraction shall not proceed to such an extent as may possibly produce cracking. Drying is retarded, and the contraction due to a given degree of drying is greatly reduced, by the presence of sand and small stones among the clay. Nearly all clays, notably those from the Glacial deposits, naturally contain sand and stones, 40 to 5O%_ by weight of which is not too much if uniformly distributed and if the clay is otherwise good. But in the lower parts of the trench, where the Earthen dams.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | GDPR