Numerical simulation of water flow in tile and mole drainage systems

Abstract : Tile drainage systems are sometimes not sufficient to provide favorable unsaturated conditions in the rootzone. These drainage systems then need to be supplemented with an additional high conductivity material in the trenches above the tiles or by implementing mole drainage. The HYDRUS (2D/3D) model was used to evaluate the impact of such additional measures for heavy clay soil. Three types of drainage systems were simulated: (i) tile drains, (ii) tile drains with gravel trenches, and (iii) tile drains with gravel trenches and mole drains, using either two-dimensional (the former two systems) or three-dimensional (the latter one) transport domains. Three scenarios were considered to test the efficiency of each system: (i) time to drain an initially saturated system, (ii) high intensity rainfall, and (iii) a real case scenario. Different horizontal spacings between tile drains with or without gravel trenches were also compared with the system which included mole drainage. The results showed that the drainage system that included mole drains and gravel trenches was the most efficient. This system provided the largest drainage rate, was the first to reach steady-state in the time to drain scenario, and also efficiently reduced surface runoff. Adding mole drains to a system with tile drains and gravel trenches resulted in a large reduction of surface runoff (75%). Simulations showed that the spacing of tile drains with or without gravel trenches would have to be 40% or 55% smaller, respectively, in order to reproduce the same water table levels as those observed for the drainage system with mole drains. Therefore, introducing mole drains in drainage systems is an efficient practice for reducing waterlogging and runoff.
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Vilim Filipović, Joel Fábio, Yves Coquet, Jirka Šimůnek. Numerical simulation of water flow in tile and mole drainage systems. Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier Masson, 2014, 146, pp.105-114. ⟨10.1016/j.agwat.2014.07.020⟩. ⟨insu-01090175⟩

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