Case studies are presented for two concrete lined channels shaken by strong ground motions during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the High Speed (HSC) and Bypass Channels (BC), on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's Van Norman Complex. Performances of these two channels as they pass through different subsurface materials identify several important seismic aspects and the critical role of geotechnical earthquake engineering in assessing channel behaviors. Preliminary evaluations using detailed mapping of channel cracks, permanent ground movements, subsurface profiles, and nearby strong ground motion recordings from the 1994 earthquake show that the channel liners may have been damaged from both transient motions and permanent ground movements. Damage from permanent ground deformations is obvious by observation; therefore simplified analyses are presented only for transient movements. Site specific transient response analyses are performed to help provide an initial assessment of the differing effects from transient and permanent ground movements on HSC and BC liner damage. These case studies are helpful for introducing the potential for lifeline damage from transient movements within zones of permanent ground movement, a concept not well understood in the earthquake engineering community. Copyright ASCE 2008.