A federal court in California has approved a construction project that will prevent billions of gallons of water from seeping into Mexico from a canal located in the United States.

The court in San Diego ruled Friday that a U.S.-based utility could line part of the All American canal with concrete. The 132-kilometer canal carries water from the Colorado river into Southern California's Imperial Valley.

The utility that operates the canal says lining 37 kilometers of its length will prevent the seepage of some 20 billion gallons of water each year.

Opponents of the improvement argued it would harm farmers in Mexico's Mexicali Valley by drying up wells and would also harm wildlife.

The canal was constructed in 1942.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.