Sub-Surface Drainage
Drainage Before and After
In many parts of India farmers face the issue of excess water in their farms or perennial water logging. Water-logging reduces the yield of such farms. The excess water evaporates due to the extreme heat leaving behind its salts which ruins the farmlands and makes them barren. Excess water has different sources such as rain water, seepage from rivers/canals etc. The land which is waterlogged or has high salinity can be reclaimed and can be made fit for agriculture by installing a Sub-Surface Drainage (SSD) system in such farms.
Sub-Surface Drainage system is a network of drains installed below the surface of the ground and is used to drain out the excess water from the ground. This system consists of perforated & corrugated pipes installed in a fish bone structure with main drains and lateral drains at a certain slope so that water drains out itself by gravity. These pipes are covered with fillter material to stop the soil from getting washed out. This system works just like a simple flower pot at our homes, there is a hole at the bottom covered with a pebble to let the excess water flow out and prevents the soil from going out thus providing enough room for the roots to grow deep and the plant to grow bigger. To install these drains specialised agricultural drainage machines are used which are manufactured by Inter-Drain, Holland, one of the leading names in the Sub-Surface Drainage industry.
Sugarcane India     Wheat Rice India


Sub-Surface Drainage has a huge impact on the yield of the farm, soil health and financial well being of the farmer.They are as follows -

  • The yield of the crop increases at least 10% and in some cases even crosses 200%. Water-logged and saline land can be reclaimed for agriculture.
  • Regular flushing of soil using SSD system removes excess salt from the land and improves soil quality and health.
  • Controlled drainage can be done using SSD system depending on crop type and water-table required accordingly.
  • The life of the system is at least 25-30yrs and has a low investment in comparison to the benefits.
  • Improves the quality of the land for future generations to continue farming and gain profits from increase in yield.
  • After the soil is free from excess salt the drained water from the farm can be re-used to irrigate the fields.
There are three different types of drainage installations which can be done-
  • Gravity Drainage
  • Pumped Drainage
  • Controlled Drainage

The above graphs have been compiled from the following reports and papers:

1. Saline Soil Reclamation Through Subsurface Drainage In Karnataka - An Economic Impact Analysis R. Raju, K. Thimmappa, A. L. Pathan And Siddayya. J. Farm Sci., 30(1): (74-78) 2017.

2 .Subsurface Drainage To Combat Waterlogging And Salinity In Irrigated Lands In India: Lessons Learned In Farmers’ Fields H.P. Ritzema , T.V. Satyanarayana , S. Raman , J. Boonstra Agricultural Water Management 95 (2008) 179–189

3. Solution Of Waterlogging And Salinity Problems Through Subsurface Drainage System – A Case Study. B.R. Patel, P.K. Shrivastva, A.N. Lad, S. Raman. 8th ICID International Drainage Workshop 31st Jan-4th Feb, 2000, New Delhi (India)