Efficiencies of Drainage Systems and Improved Water Management

by I. C. Tod,
M. E. Grismer,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Drainage of agricultural lands has become a contentious issue as concern increases over the actual economic benefits of subsurface drainage in irrigated regions relative to the impacts of agricultural drainage waters on the broader environment. Impacts of drain water quality on the surface water environment has received such attention in the western U.S. that in some areas, drainage installation has ceased. In the semi-arid and arid climate of the western states, drainage systems collect dissolved trace elements of marine shale origin from the rootzone leachate, while in temperate climates the chemicals of concern in the drainage water ate typically nitrates, pesticides and herbicides. In both cases, the poor quality drainage water has limited beneficial reuse and adverse environmental impacts. Neither the economic benefit of drainage relative to the possible costs associated with poor drain water quality, or the hydrogeologic factors affecting the efficiency of the drainage system in recovering root zone drainage have been incorporated into the irrigation.drainage system design process.

Subject Headings: Drainage systems | Drainage | Water management | Water quality | Economic factors | Irrigation water | Subsurface drainage | Irrigation

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