An artificial ditch or trench in the earth, for confining water to a defined channel, to be used for purposes of transportation. The meaning of this word, when applied to artificial passages for water, is a trench or excavation in the earth, for conducting water and confining it to narrow limits. It is unlike the words “river,” “pond,” “lake,” and other words used to designate natural bodies of water, the ordinary meaning of which is confined to the water itself; but it includes also the banks, and has reference rather to the excavation or channel as a receptacle for the water; it is an artificial thing.
Law Dictionary – Alternative Legal Definition
A trench dug for leading water in a particular direction, and confining it. 2. Public canals are generally protected by the law which authorizes their being made. Various points have arisen under numerous laws authorizing the construction of canals.