Modeling effectiveness of two runoff mitigation measures in the Netherlands

M. Heinen, W.H.J. Beltman*, H.T.L. Massop, P. Groenendijk, P.E. Dik, Robin Sur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Rainfall that exceeds the soil's maximum infiltration rate is prone to runoff, and the excess rainfall will flow toward open water systems. Nutrients, pesticides or other contaminants may be transported along with this overland flow, thus contaminating surface waters. There are various measures that can be implemented to prevent or reduce runoff, which involve either improving the soil's infiltration capacity or temporarily storing more water at the field scale. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of two mitigation measures, i.e., micro-dams and edge-of-field trenches, in reducing the total number of runoff events and the runoff volume for specific rainfall events. For this purpose, numerical simulations were performed with a deterministic soil–water–atmosphere–plant model for reference situations and for situations involving either of the two mitigation measures. The mitigation measures are implemented as a change in the ponding threshold height above which the model predicts runoff. For this purpose, we considered several soil / groundwater level / crop / intrinsic field soil surface storage situations that are common in the Netherlands. For ridge-furrow cropping systems, micro-dams are more effective than edge-of-field trenches. Depending on the soil type (excluding sand), the minimum effectiveness is 70% and may be >90% in specific situations. For the edge-of-field trench, the reduction in runoff events was mostly in the 24–35% range, while the effectiveness for the runoff volume for a rainfall event that typically occurs once per year was in the 13–48% range (excluding sand). Due to the relatively high hydraulic conductivity at saturation for the sandy soils, runoff was simulated in only a few cases for these soils. The effectiveness was evidently dependent on intrinsic field soil surface storage and soil types, varied slightly between crop types and was very similar across the groundwater level classes considered.
Original languageEnglish
Article number156190
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling effectiveness of two runoff mitigation measures in the Netherlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this