Effect of Agricultural Drainage on Surface Water Quality in Delaware

by William F. Ritter, Univ of Delaware, Dep of, Agricultural Engineering, Newark, DE, USA,
Anastasia E. M. Chirnside, Univ of Delaware, Dep of, Agricultural Engineering, Newark, DE, USA,
Robert W. Scarborough, Univ of Delaware, Dep of, Agricultural Engineering, Newark, DE, USA,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Development and Management Aspects of Irrigation and Drainage Systems

Abstract: Parts of Kent and Sussex counties, Delaware, require drainage to have productive agricultural soils. Drainage has been installed on the Delmarva Peninsula since colonial days. Drainage projects in Delaware have raised the question of what effect drainage has on water quality. Some people believe it has a detrimental effect on water quality, while others believe that flooding of poorly drained soils contributes to sheet erosion and poor water quality by soil particle flotation. As a result, erosion will not occur in drained soils, and the water quality will improve. The only time water quality would be degraded is during the construction phase. This paper reports on a project which was initiated in 1982 to evaluate the impact of agricultural drainage on water quality.

Subject Headings: Drainage | Water quality | Irrigation water | Soil water | Water resources | Surface drainage | Surface water | Water sampling | Erosion | Floods | North America | Delaware | United States

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