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Drainage water management in open ditches – solutions and effects in Latvia

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2016 10th International Drainage Symposium Conference, 6-9 September 2016, Minneapolis, Minnesota  .(doi:10.13031/IDS.20162493006)
Authors:   Ainis Lagzdins, Linda Grinberga, Ieva Siksnane
Keywords:   Agriculture, ditches, water management, nutrients.

Abstract. Water level control structures can be installed to maintain proper water levels and control flow rates in open ditches. These outlet structures provide water flow conditions and environments favorable for natural water treatment processes including sedimentation of suspended solids and particle bound nutrients, as well as retention of dissolved forms of nutrients through biological and chemical processes. This study was initiated in 2013 and involved installation and monitoring of twelve water level control structures in the open ditches that accumulate subsurface drainage and surface runoff from agricultural land managed by the “Vecauce” (training and research farm of the Latvia University of Agriculture) and other farmers. Water samples were collected at inlets and outlets using a grab sampling routine and analyzed for nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N), ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-N), total nitrogen (TN), orthophosphate-phosphorus (PO4-P), and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations. Besides, field measurements of chemical and physical parameters were carried out using the YSI 6920 V2 multi-parameter water quality probe. The performance and nutrient removal efficiency varied widely over the experimental structures depending on the surface area/catchment area ratio, nutrient concentration at the inflow, meteorological and hydrological conditions in the catchment area. Overall, this study highlighted the potential of water level control structures to reduce nutrient concentrations in drainage water.

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