Aqueducts in British India
One other aqueduct of modern construction is worthy of notice. In those parts of British India where the fall of rain is scanty and uncertain, recourse is had to artificial irrigation, and the waters of many of the rivers of the country have been rendered available for this purposes by means of public works constructed by the Government.
Of these the most important is the Ganges Canal, which traverses the North-Western Provinces of Bengal, and distributes over their vast area nearly the whole volume of the waters of the Ganges. The canal begins at the point where the river issues from the mountains, and enters the plains of Bengal.
About 20 miles from its source, the line of the canal crosses the valley of the Solani river, and the works for effecting the transit are designed on a scale worthy of the undertaking. The valley is between 2 and 3 miles in width. An earthen embankment is carried across, raised on an average between 16 and 17 feet above the surrounding country, and having a width of 350 feet at its base, and 290 feet in the upper part. This embankment forms the bed of the canal, which is protected by banks 12 feet in depth, and 30 feet wide at the top. To preserve these banks from the effects of the action of the water, lines of masonry formed into steps extent on each side throughout their entire length.
The Solani river is crossed by an aqueduct 920 feet long, having side walls 8 feet thick and 12 deep, the depth of the water being 10 feet. The water of the canal passes through two separate channels. That of the River Solani flows under fifteen arches, having a span of 50 feet each, constructed in the most substantial manner, and springing from piers resting on blocks of masonry sunk into the bed of the river. The cost of the aqueduct was upwards of £160,000. In grandeur of design, solidity of construction, and, above all, in extensive utility, it may challenge competition with any similar work in the world.
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