EMBANKMENT is an engineering term used to denote any large heap of materials collected together by artificial means. Embankments are constructed for carrying roads or railways across valleys. They are also employed for protecting land from the encroachments of river floods, and on a larger scale, in low-lying countries, as a defence against the inroads of the sea. Embankments are also the main features in almost all schemes of water-works, being used for impounding water for supply of towns or compensation to mills. See IRRIGATION and WATER-WORKS.