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DrainageDrainage, the removal of excess surface or groundwater from any area, naturally or by virtue of man-made surface or sub-surface conduits, has four main functions: creating well drained arable lands, preventing salinization of the soils, lowering of groundwater table and removal of accumulated salts or toxic elements.

Different types of artificial drainage from a functional prospective can be distinguished as: crop-season drainage, off-season drainage, intermediate drainage and salt drainage. A drainage system can consist of field drainage systems (either surface or sub-surface), a main drain (mostly surface) and an outlet. Field drains, farm drains or laterals control the groundwater table or the water level in the field and removal of water in case of rice. They also collect surface run-off. Main drains that also include collector drains, branch drains and sub-main drains, collect the water from field drains, and convey it to the outlet. Outlet is an open connection or discharge sluice, or pumping station to evacuate the drainage water to a receiving water body.

Drainage problems are serious on about 100-110 million hectares of irrigated land located in the world's semi-arid and arid zones. At present, about 20-30 million hectares of irrigated land are seriously damaged by the build-up of salts and 0.25-0.5 million hectares are estimated to be lost from production every year as a result of salt build-up. However, even efficient drainage causes problems - drainage effluent is often contaminated with salts, trace elements, sediments and traces of agricultural inputs, which need to be safely disposed of. Proper drainage also allows crop diversification and intensification, the growth of high-yielding varieties, and effective use of inputs such as fertilizers.





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