In the Netherlands, the amount of precipitation is higher than the amount of evaporated water. Together with the fact that the surface of the Netherlands is mostly below sea levell, it becomes clear that a lot of water has to be discharged into the oceans, in order to prevent the Dutch country from flooding.
Where should it go?
A lot of water is used by the Dutch people self, for example for domestic use, industrial use and agricultural use. Water also has a clear function in the form of landscape and recreational use. The vast majority of the surface of our country is agricultural area. A lot of water is needed for the growth of crops. Water also plays a very important role as drinking water for livestock, this of course has to be of excellent quality.
Storing water in the summer is there for very important. At the same time, a surplus of water can drown crops in summer. The cattle also trample valuable grass and can cause lots of loss when harvesting both on grassland and in arable farming. Due to this great importance, the drainage of water has been regulated by agriculture for centuries.
Drainage is installed to remove excess water. This is to prevent crops from drowning and grassland from being damaged by trampling and spurs. When the soil is wet, it is easily deformed and compressed if under pressure. This creates smearing and structural deterioration. Both are very detrimental to the growth of crops. In addition, nutrients leach out easily and are poorly utilized.
Smooth drainage of excess water can be achieved by installing a pipe system in the soil. This kind of system was already used by the Romans. In the 19th century, it became more known in our country.
But it was only applied on a larger scale after issues such as the construction of the Zuiderzee polders and the fight against salinization after the flooding in Zeeland. After the Second World War, we decided to drastically improve agricultural production and this significantly stimulated the construction and development of drainage in the Netherlands. Drainage ensures the removal of excess groundwater. For the construction and proper functioning of drainage, a sufficiently deep main drainage system with sufficiently spacious ditches and good drainage is required. People often have different wished in nature reserves. There is also a development towards administrative thinking in which a chronological sequence of storage, recovery, and only then discharge becomes a principle to be applied in the system of water discharge.
Finding a good balance in the interests of agriculture and nature means that drainage, water supply, and the quality of the surface water remain an important topic of discussion in the Netherlands. Drainage will continue to play an important role in this. Issues such as functioning above and/or underwater and maintenance require increasing attention. This book is based on practical knowledge, experiences, and developments in drainage from a period from the mid-20th century. In combination with the scientific substantiation underlying the drainage, this work makes a handy example to use in the construction and assessment of the functioning of the drainage systems.