Controlled Versus Conventional Drainage Effects on Water Quality

by Robert O. Evans, North Carolina State Univ, Raleigh, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: Integrated Perspectives


Fertilized cropland is a nonpoint source of nitrogen and phosphorus which can contribute to nutrient enrichment problems prevalent in many surface water ecosystems. Research has shown that agricultural drainage water contains fertilizer nutrients and sometimes pesticides. Public concern for the environment has led to criticism of agricultural drainage for degrading water quality. Controlled drainage has been recognized in some states as a Best Management Practice to reduce the transport and delivery of nitrogen to sensitive surface waters. This paper summarizes and compares environmental and water quality impacts associated with conventional and controlled drainage practices.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Drainage | Nutrient pollution | Quality control | Aquatic habitats | Surface water | Nitrogen | Irrigation water

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