The slope of the river bed diminishes until the plain compels the river to move slowly, swinging in meanders proportioned to its size, and gradually, controlled by the flattening land, ceasing to transport material, but raising its banks and silting up its bed by the dropped sediment, until, split up and shoaled, its distributaries struggle across its delta to the sea.
In length, with fourteen distributaries was opened in 1902; the Shwebo canal, 27 m.
The ordinary triangular form of deltas, due to the smoothing of the delta front by sea action, is here wanting, because of the weakness of sea action in comparison with the strength of the current in each of the four distributaries or passes into which the river divides near its mouth.
In Sind and the Punjab there are many canals which act merely as distributaries of the overflow of the great rivers at the time of inundation; but where the utility of the canals has been increased by permanent headworks the supply of water is perennial and practically inexhaustible, thus contrasting favourably with the less certain protection given by tanks.
Their main channels bifurcate, and each new stream so created throws off its own set of distributaries to right and left.
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