Drainage Plus – Promoting controlled drainage
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Using LEADER support to promote innovative water management techniques among the farming community in Flanders.
The project supported farmers in the Kempen and Maasland areas in Flanders, Belgium, to convert their traditional drainage systems to level-controlled drainage. In this technique, water control structures are installed at strategic drainage outlets. The outflow of water from the drainage system is regulated by controlling the level of water at the drainage outlet according to the needs of the crop. This was quite a new technique in the region.
The project acted as a pilot scheme, financing the conversion on a number of parcels of land to level-controlled drainage. Guidance and advice were provided to the participating farmers via on-field demonstrations. A communication and awareness raising campaign was also a key component to the project.
Nine parcels of 35 hectares of traditionally drained land were converted to level-controlled drainage.
The project demonstrated that level-controlled drainage systems can increase crop growth if applied correctly. The technique can lead to improved yields ranging from about EUR 100, up to several hundreds of EUR, per hectare depending on the crop.
Awareness about the technique among farmers is growing. This is illustrated by the fact that conversions to level-controlled drainage have begun in different parts of Flanders.