Controlled drainage with subirrigation: a management measure to discharge, retain and recharge fresh water
“Sufficient freshwater is needed for water dependent sectors as agriculture, nature, drinking water, and industry. However, even in low-lying, flood prone countries like the Netherlands, climate change, weather extremes, economic growth, urbanization, land subsidence and increased food production cause an increased pressure on the regional groundwater system. Furthermore, the annual groundwater table in sandy soil areas dropped over the last decades with the effect that, nowadays, freshwater is becoming scarce in dry periods. Measures are needed to guarantee sufficient freshwater for all sectors. One of the solutions for the agricultural sector could be to modify the current pipe drainage systems (already existing in 34 % of the Dutch agricultural land) to drainage-subirrigation-systems. Doing so, subsurface drainage systems contribute to a shift in water management strategy: from drainage, to drainage, water retention and recharge.
We used data and model output of four experimental sites of the Dutch Pleistocene uplands, where controlled drainage with subirrigation is applied. Field data is collected over the years 2017-2021, like water supply, groundwater table and soil moisture content. All other water balance components, crop yield and configuration of the management of the systems are modelled with SWAP (Soil-Water-Atmosphere-Plant model).”
(Citation: de Wit, J.A., van Huijgevoort, M.H.J., et.al. – Controlled drainage with subirrigation: a management measure to discharge, retain and recharge fresh water -NIBIO 2022, Norway, 4-6 May 2022 (Abstract and presentation))