Drainage in Iowa and Opportunities for Drainage Design to Incorporate Economic and Environmental Aspects

Matthew Helmers


Subsurface drainage has allowed for excellent agricultural production within many areas of Iowa. However, these systems allow for short-circuiting of some agricultural pollutants, specifically nitrate-nitrogen, to nearby surface water bodies. This has contributed to local and regional water quality concerns including hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Future system designs will need to incorporate not only economic but also the environmental aspects of drainage.


Provide information about the benefits and drawbacks of subsurface drainage systems and how drainage-system design and management can include economic and environmental aspects.





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