Water: faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive?

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CAP Stop Logs

The water in the CAP canal may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but it is stronger than a locomotive.* For CAP, this means enacting some ingenious engineering to complete maintenance on infrastructure that is frequently under water in areas where the system cannot be drained. 

One section of the system that cannot be drained without interrupting deliveries is where there are siphons – pipelines that go under the ground. The solution is to install stop logs at the entrance and the outlet to a siphon. Stop logs form a dam across the canal and, in coordination with water operations and water users, allow access to the siphon.

Engineering project manager Keith Wood lead a project to construct and install stop logs at four siphons on the system.

“These stop logs allow a safe way to access the siphons for inspections or repair and ensure the reliability of our system,” Wood said.

In this short video, Wood shows how the stop logs are installed and work.

CAP Canal Stop Logs

* If an average train weighs 12 million pounds, the amount of force/power required to stop this train at 50 miles per hour 0.88 billion ft-lbs per second (1.6 million horsepower). By comparison the CAP canal weighs an average 1.9 billion pounds per 7 mile segment, which means to stop the water in the canal, which moves at 2.4 miles per hour. It requires 6.76 billion ft-lbs per second (12.3 million horsepower) nearly 8 times the power to stop the water as compared to the train.