I am fairly new to Cities Skylines and not a heavy gamer. I cannot figure out what functional role, if any, canals play. Are they purely aesthetic, or do they change how the game works in some way? Can I use them to build a city which works better, not just looks better? If yes, how?

Small boats aren't available in the game and it doesn't look like ocean liners would fit in there.

I have the After Dark expansion, but no other DLC.

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    Nov 18, 2016 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


Canals have a variety of purposes from aesthetic to functional. Some players make like having canals run through their cities for looks while others may use them to direct sewage to certain areas.

Directing sewage to another area is both aesthetic and functional since sewage affects cim health and reduce land value.

Do not, however, make a canal for only sewage that does not connect to a water source. That will overflow and cause flooding over time. Bodies of water in the game have water sources that add water if it is below a value and removes it when above.

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    Thanks! I didn't know that water pollution affects land value. Does that mean that if I use canals for sewage, I definitely shouldn't route them through the city? Actually all this makes me wonder, do canals affect land value like regular shorelines do? If so, that would be one functional use for them. I did route sewage far-far away from the city before, but I did it using standard underground pipes. I put a windmill next to the sewage drains to provide power without having to lay long power lines.
    – Carl
    Oct 7, 2016 at 7:28
  • Correct, routing through the city would affect land value. The benefit of the canal would be long-term rather than short term. Initially it would cost more to set up the canal system, but the benefit of not having to purchase long stretches of underground pipe and additional power sources helps in the long term. Oct 7, 2016 at 14:04

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