I would go see the local county extension service, BLM office and whatever the Soil Conservation Service is called now. They should have some ideas. They work on spring develpments often.
I would hesitate to use culvert material if what you mean is galvanized corrugated metal pipe. PVC pipe or fiberglass would work. What you are doing with the locals idea is building a shallow well.
© 2016 Renovate Your World LLC