What I'm looking for is a word which translates Japanese "tenjougawa". It indicates a (part of a) river whose bed has eventually risen above the surrounding ground level, mostly because of successive diking over a long time that prevents sediment from spreading outside its watercourse. According to Japanese WP, there are at least 240 tenjougawas in Japan.

tenjougawa ga dekiru made

(image from here)

  • So it flows like a canal, with walls higher than the banks? Aug 18 '15 at 11:42
  • I don't think there's an English word for this. The Mississippi and the Hunang He both have elevated sections, but nothing I've read about them has a word for it other than spelling out that the river bed is above ground level.
    – ssav
    Aug 18 '15 at 12:01
  • @TRomano In most cases, the banks stand like walls. Sometimes it even has tunnels under it. And thank you for editing. Aug 18 '15 at 12:56

This would usually be called an elevated riverbed, but I think that's more common when talking about rivers in technical terms. In conversation with non-hydrologists, I'd probably just describe it.

Another term is channelized, but a channelized stream is any that has been artificially directed into a manmade, or human-enhanced channel rather than allowed to flow naturally. Channelized streams usually flow at ground level, but it would also cover the situation you are describing.

Finally, an aqueduct is a manmade elevated channel to carry water for the purpose of drinking water or irrigation. It's been redirected from it's natural channel, sometimes for hundreds of miles. They are often raised far above the ground to provide slope necessary for the water to reach its destination. So while some aqueducts would fit the situation you described, not all tenjougawas would be aqueducts.

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