Research priorities for agricultural drainage in developing countries


The report draws upon worldwide experience of drainage related projects to identify generic research needs.

The report aims to:

  • identify important technical issues in drainage for which solutions are needed.

  • direct available research resources to areas of priority need.

  • promote the application of research output in the developing world through training and the development of appropriate management tools.

Six priority areas for research, considered to be of primary importance to improving longterm agricultural output in the developing world, are identified. They are:

  1. Integration of irrigation and drainage to improve productivity with reduced water use.

  2. Quantification of drainage benefits and identification of optimum investment strategies.

  3. Preventative and remedial measures to improve drainage performance.

  4. Drainage and reclamation of problem soils.

  5. Drainwater disposal, reuse and related issues.

  6. Tools for planning and design of drainage.

The six research areas are discussed with particular attention to the nature and scale of the problem in each case, and a brief review of existing work. Priority research topics are highlighted in each area. The case is made that research must be capable of integrating the findings from individual projects and that drainage must be considered as part of a wider integrated water management system within a basin.


HR Wallingford, UK. 34 pp.

Research priorities for agricultural drainage in developing countries

Published 1 January 1998