> On Feb 19, 2018, at 5:06 AM, John Sturdy <jcg.stu...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 4:12 PM, Paul Allen <pla16...@gmail.com 
> <mailto:pla16...@gmail.com>> wrote:
>   In my part of the world, an artificial waterway used
> for conveying water is almost always referred to as an aqueduct
> I think of an aqueduct as being a bridge conveying water above ground level; 
> a channel cut into the ground for conveying water is a "leat”.

The large artificial channels carrying water to Southern California from the 
Colorado River, eastern Sierra Mountains and Northern California are generally 
called “aqueducts”. For much of their length they are in open channels set into 
the ground.

As an American English speaker, I’ve never heard of “leat”. And I don’t see 
“leat" in my old American Heritage Dictionary, so it is apparently not used at 
all in the US. So I pulled out my microprint Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to 
figure out what you are referring to.

My OED says that a “leat” is “an open watercourse to conduct water for 
household purposes, mills, mining works, etc."

My OED says that an aqueduct is “an artificial channel for the conveyance of 
water from place to place; a conduit; esp. an elevated structure of masonry for 
this purpose.” So from the first part of that definition an aqueduct need not 
be an elevated structure.

Based on this, my interpretation is that a leat is probably a smaller more 
local thing providing water to one or a small number houses or mills. While 
aqueduct is a more general term for  the works used to transport water from 
place to place.


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