Through this part of its course the current of the river, except where restricted by floating bridges - at Feluja, Mussaib, Hillah, Diwanieh and Samawa - does not normally exceed a mile an hour, and both on the main stream and on its canals the jerd or oxbucket takes the place of the naoura or water-wheel for purposes of irrigation.
Under the Arabs the old designation again prevailed and the Euphrates is always described by the Arabian geographers as the river which flows direct to Kufa, while the present stream, passing along the ruins of Babylon to Hillah and Diwanieh, has been universally known as the Nahr Sura.
The object is to allow sufficient water to drain off to the westward for the due irrigation of the land, while the Hillah bed still retains the main volume of the stream, and is navigable to the sea.
But it frequently happens that the dam at the head of the Hindieh is carried away, and, a free channel being thus opened for the waters of the river to the westward, the Hillah bed shoals to 2 or 3 ft., or even dries up altogether, while the country to the west of the river is turned into lakes and swamps.
The Narss, also, the modern Daghara, which is still navigable to Nippur and beyond, left the Sura a little below Hillah; and at the present day another large canal, the Kehr, branches off near Diwanieh.