Prioritizing Maintenance Work in Agricultural
Drainage Ditches: A Procedure
11th International Drainage Symposium
August 31, 2022
Des Moines, Iowa - USA
Daniel B. Aviles R1., Ingrid Wesström2 & Abraham Joel2
1UMSS, Hydraulics Laboratory
2SLU, Soil and Environment
Why it is important to maintain
agricultural drainage ditches?
Maintain or improve yields per
unit land (Bos and Boers, 2006)
Keep agriculturla lands
Can be costly and time
consuming -> Prioritize!
Mitigate soil erosion
The study was carried out to test and evaluate a procedure
to identify drainage ditch segments that are likely to need
We evaluated an approach for measuring soil
susceptibility to fluvial erosion
From the work of Partheniades (1965) a model based on
“erodibility” parameters was suggested and has the form:
𝐸 = 𝑀 𝜏𝑏 − 𝜏𝑐
Affected by Physical,
biological factors Amount of
Materials and Methods
The critical shear can be related to the CSM jet pressures (Grabowski,
𝜏𝑐 = 0.0013𝑃𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒 + 0.047
𝑃𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒 = CSM jet pressure(Pjet) at the onset of erosion transformed
to equivalent pressure at the soil surface.
The pressures at the surface and the CSM jet pressures relationship,
thus, need to be stablished:
𝑃𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒 = 𝑓(𝑃𝑗𝑒𝑡)
Grabowski, R.C., Droppo, I.G. & Wharton, G. (2010). Estimation of critical shear stress from cohesive
strength meter-derived erosion thresholds. Limnology and Oceanography-Methods, 8(12), pp. 678-685.
- The CSM was
of the water jets
hitting the soil
- The calibration was
made using a pressure
- The calibrated CSM
pressures were used to
obtain estimates of the
critical shear stress for
Materials and Methods
- From the curves it can be seen that the Control soil erodes more than the
soils with the different treatments.
- Mixed Lime treatment resulted in the soil that withstands higher pressures
with less detachment compared to the rest of the treatments.
Avilés, D., Wesström, I., & Joel, A. (2018). Status assessment of agricultural drainage ditches. Transactions of the
ASABE, 61(1), 263-271.
- Ditch segments were
evaluated according to
MADRAS (Joel, A. et al
2015) which considers
banks stability, over-
widening or undercutting
- According to MADRAS,
segment D1 was considered
as being in a poor condition
C and D2 were considered
- The different CSM test
show consistency, since C
and D2 curves are above
the curve for D1(poor
- Soils with higher
root densities (12
and 17.4 Kg/m3)
detached less by the
action of higher
CSM jet pressures
than the soils with
lower root densities.
- These results are
Aviles, D., Wesström, I., & Joel, A. (2020). Effect of vegetation removal on soil erosion and bank stability in
agricultural drainage ditches. Land, 9(11), 441.
- The measured values of pressure
at the surface for the CSM
pressure at the onset of erosion
remain within the same order of
magnitude for the ditch in
Bäcklösa and the Uppsala plots.
- The soil treated with Mixed lime
showed slightly higher pressure at
the surface than the other
- For the Jönåker ditch segment,
the pressure at the surface values
were higher for soils with higher
root densities (segment 1 and 3)
than those with lower root
densities (segments 2, 4 and 5.
Segment C 35.0
Segment D1 4.0
Segment D2 41.0
Mixed lime 7.9
Slaked lime 3.4
Tunnel kiln slag 3.4
Segment 1 (17.4) 13.7
Segment 2 (2.5) 54.5
Segment 3 (12.0) 1236.1
Segment 4 (2.2) 6.9
Segment 5 (1.8) 10.3
- The measured pressures acting on the soil surface are
in the range 0 – 275 Pa, which are, in some cases, one
order of magnitude lower than the estimates obtained
using the relationship proposed by Vardy et al. (2007).
This will likely result in underestimated values
estimates of the critical shear stress for erosion.
- Critical shear stress values were higher for soils with
higher soil root densities, which reinforces the role of
vegetation to control soil erosion.
- CSM tests consistently revealed the strength of the
soils, for the case of soils with different amendments
and soils with different plant root densities