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Canals

Artificial channels for the conveyance of water, used for navigation, transportation, drainage, or irrigation of land.

As a general rule, states supervise the construction and operation of canals by private canal companies. The site of the canal is selected by the state. State law determines the manner of acquiring property used for construction or maintenance of canals. Condemnation or appropriation and contract or grant are the usual methods of acquisition. Additional methods include accretion—the gradual accumulation of land by natural causes—and dedication—the gift of land to the government by its owner for public use.

The state has authority to supervise the construction of bridges over public canals. A city may build bridges over canals within its limits, but it cannot interfere with one constructed and managed by the state on its own property.

State law can confer the power to charge tolls for use of a canal. Rates can be neither discriminatory nor in excess of the amount authorized by law.

A ship travels through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal. Completed in 1914, the Panama Canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Bryan Treaties (Bryan Arbitration Treaties) to James Earl Carter Jr. - Further Readings