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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Subsurface Drainage System Design and Management in Irrigated Agriculture Best Management Practices for Reducing Drainage Volume and Salt Load.

Authors
item Christen, Evan - CSIRO LAND AND WATER
item Ayars, James

Submitted to: CSIRO Australia Griffith NSW
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2001
Publication Date: September 2, 2001
Citation: Christen, E.W., Ayars, J.E. 2001. Subsurface drainage system design and management in irrigated agriculture best management practices for reducing drainage volume and salt load.. CSIRO Australia Griffith NSW. Technical Report 38/01, pg 136.

Interpretive Summary: Drainage sustains irrigated agriculture by removing salt accumulated in the soil profile. However, this results in the degradation of the water quality of the water body that receives the drainage. While drainage may not be completely eliminated, it oftentimes can be significantly reduced. Best management practices (BMP's) have been developed as a means to reduce water quality problems associated with agricultural practices such irrigation, fertilizer management, and erosion control. There are also BMP's for managing drainage systems in humid areas to reduce nitrate concentration in drainage water. There are no BMP's for the reduction of drainage discharge and salt loading in irrigated agriculture. This technical report develops the BMP's for drainage system design and management in irrigated agriculture. The report is broken into two sections. The first part gives the background and the BMP's along with a sample application. The second part reviews the literature used to develop the BMP's. Specific BMP's developed to cover drainage system selection, design, and management are applicable for both new and existing systems. Example applications demonstrated that implementation of these BMP's on existing systems was effective in reducing drainage flow and salt loading.

Technical Abstract: The drainage of irrigated lands literature was reviewed and used to develop best management practices (BMP's) for the design and management of subsurface drainage systems in irrigated areas. The emphasis was focused on developing an integrated water management system comprised of the irrigation and drainage systems. Generic BMP's were developed for drainage system selection, design, and management. The intent was to develop the overarching concept and the application of the concept would be specific for the site and conditions. Examples were given for the implementation of the concepts. Application of these concepts in research field trials demonstrated the effectiveness in reducing drainage discharge and salt loading.

Last Modified: 12/17/2014
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