Scientific research

Drainage ditches on the steep slopes of arable land

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

Drainage ditches on the arable land located on abrupt slopes are made for the purpose of disposal of rain water and prevention of soil erosion.

Brief summary of technology:

The dekhkans of the Fayzabad district make drainage ditches to reduce erosion on the wheat fields located on abrupt slopes. Distance between the ditches is 5-10 m, average depth 15 cm, width 30 cm. Ditches are made with a slope of 10-20% for better disposal  of the surplus rainwater. Intercepting channel with a width of 50 cm and depth of 50 cm, which intercepts a part of surface runoff is made in the upper part of a field. The intercepting channel constructed in the upper part, stably provides the drainage discharge within 5 years. Small drainage ditches in the field are made annually after the soil and crop cultivation. Excavated soil is spread below a ditch to reduce risk of its damage.

Majority of the dekhkans of Fayzabad district make 1-3 ditches in their sites located on abrupt slopes. The technology of construction does not take much time and does not demand heavy financial expenses. The need for labor does not exceed 3 man-days per ha. However, maintenance of the upland and drainage ditches is required to ensure effective functioning (regular deepening and cleaning after each heavy rain).

Location: Fayzabad district.

Stage of intervention: alleviation / reduction of land degradation.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

Absence of adequate anti-erosion protection causes leaching of the top fertile soil layer and seeds downhill, development of a serious water erosion and decrease of fertility of sloping land.

Main technical features of technology:

Managing of dissipating surface runoff, erosion prevention.

Type of land use Conservation measures

Arable land.

Cultivation of annual agricultural crops - Во(Ca).

Structural measures:

С5: Horizontal ditches / pits.



Average annual rainfall: 750-1000 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 1500-2500 m.

Landscape: hillsides.

Slope (%): 16-30% (hilly).

Soil fertility: moderate.

Humus content in arable horizon: <1% (low).

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: good.

Anthropogenic environment

Size of land area (ha): 1-2, 2-5 ha.

Landholder: small/middle sized, mixed.

Land ownership: state and lease.

Water use rights: -

Market orientation: subsistence farming (self sufficiency), free market.


Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- inexpensive and not difficult measure;

- reduces soil erosion.

Main disadvantages:

- inefficient in the absence of regular service;

- breakage of drainage ditches can create serious problems on arable sites;

- does not provide for 100% erosion prevention (combination with other measures (grass strips, agroforestry, etc. is recommended).

Acceptance/adoption of technology: There is a small increasing tendency of independent acceptance of technology.

However, many dekhkans who implemented this technology do not perform service of ditches at an appropriate level.

Reference(s): : WOCAT Database. Technology code: T_TAJ010ru.

Compiled by: Byukhlmann Eric, Center for development and environment. Date: 08.03.2011.

Contact person: Bettina Volfgramm. Center for development and environment, University of Bern.

Address: Hallerstrasse 10, Bern, CH-3012 Switzerland.


Name of person(s) collected this description: Tatyana Hamzina, Chief specialist on soil reclamation studies and irrigation regime. UZGIP LTD.

Address: 44, Navoi str., Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Tel.: +998 90 9945654





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