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Development of a database of agricultural drainage - ES0111

The overall objective of this project is to develop a database of agricultural underdrainage which provides a description of the extent, type and maintenance of the drainage systems for England & Wales. The study will be carried out using largely existing databases of drainage installed in the 1970s and 1980s (the MAFF F-CG3UD database) together with databases on soil type, hydrologic class and land use. This study is needed because extensive areas of land have experienced a major land use change (e.g. grassland to arable after World War II), together with more localised land use changes due for example, to farm economics, set-aside and other factors. These land use changes brought with it fundamental alterations to the patterns of land drainage, both natural drainage (over and through the soils) and artificial drainage (installed by man). A considerable amount of detailed data has been collected on the distribution of agricultural drainage installations over the last 30-50 years, however, these data has not been made available in an easily accessible, spatially referenced format. Furthermore, there is a distinct lack of information available on the maintenance and continuing effectiveness of the systems in controlling rates of drainage and flow pathways

The information from this study will support FMID's policy of meeting environmental standards (such as the Nitrate Directive, Urban Waste Water Directive and Water Framework Directive) and minimising pollution from agriculture in the most cost-effective way. There is still a need to investigate the contribution of different pollution transport processes that create surface water contamination (e.g. by nitrates, phosphorus, metals, pathogens etc.). This spatial database will also provide interested parties with a powerful tool to assess the agricultural component of water flow and associated pollutant transport to surface water drainage systems. It may also be used to support modelling of the way agricultural management influences the runoff from the landscape and the effect on flood risk.

To develop a spatial database describing the extent and type of agricultural drainage systems in England and Wales, supplemented with information on the likely state of maintenance of these systems

1. To bring together available information on the existence of agricultural drainage systems, in particular types, spacing, depth, age etc., but also including available survey details on the likely state of maintenance.

2. To assess the completeness and accuracy of these data, and assess the percentage of land area that did not implement drainage systems.

3. To integrate the drainage survey with information on soil characteristics and climatology

4. To develop a statistical procedure for the determination of the likelihood of soil dainage

5. To develop the final database as a description of the extent, type and maintenance of agricultural drainage systems based on combination of both physical and agricultural land management information.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Development of a database of agricultural drainage   (4122k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2002

Cost: £48,630
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Agricultural Land              
Environmental Protection