Determination of drainage parameters in the low-lying acid sulphate coastal wetlands of Kerala, India

E.K. Mathew, J. Vos

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademic

Abstract

Kuttanad, the low-lying tract in Kerala State (South-west India), is a region where excess water has caused the agricultural production to remain low. This is even more severe in the potential acid sulphate soils of Kuttanad. Besides the problems inherent to these soils, the region also experiences floods, lack of fresh water and intrusion of saline water from the Arabian Sea. A subsurface drainage system consisting of 10 cm diameter clay tiles, each of 60 cm length, was installed in a pilot area to study the effect of drainage in alleviating the problems faced by these soils. The drains were installed at a depth of about 1 m with spacings of 15 m (replicated 5 times with a drain length of 75 m) and 30 m (replicated twice with a drain length of 100 m) in order determine the drainage parameters from the field data. The paper discusses on the evaluation of drainage parameters from field data obtained from a pilot area where subsurface drainage system was installed and the use these parameters for designing larger drainage systems. This particular study pertains to the polders of Kuttanad where the fields are always surrounded by water bodies. With the collected drain outflow and water table subsidence data, the drainage parameters namely the hydraulic conductivity and the drainable porosity were determined. A study conducted in subsurface drained field has shown that the hydraulic conductivity values were comparatively higher for the topsoil in the experimental area. It varied directly with the mid-spacing water table height for drains close to the outside water body and exponentially for drains away from the outside water body. The transition in the mode of variation took place at a distance of 60 m from the water body. The values also showed a decreasing trend with the distance of the field from the water body for the same mid-spacing water table heights. The average equivalent hydraulic conductivity computed was 0.167 m/d for regions up to 60 m from the water body and 0.055 m/d for regions beyond that. For areas near to outside water bodies, the drainable porosity increased as the mid-spacing water table height decreased. For areas that are away from the water bodies, the drainable porosity decreased with the mid-spacing water table height and became almost constant at lower mid-spacing water table heights. The average equivalent drainable porosity for the flow domain that are away from the water bodies is 0.04.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • drainage
  • acid sulfate soils
  • floods
  • salt water intrusion
  • coastal areas
  • india

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