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  • Writer's pictureCoral Blaikie

Take Advantage of Free Drainage Plans

Drainage plans are a bonus map we can make free of charge on fields that have been SWAT-MAPPED. RTK elevation or Lidar is required to model the natural water flow paths and water-holding depressions in a field. Having a drainage plan to follow can be very useful when doing surface drainage or ditching, as it tells you where the natural water flow paths and water-holding depressions are in a field. It also tells you which direction the water flows.

What Is a Drainage Plan?

A drainage plan consists of an elevation layer, overlaid by the water-holding depressions and flow accumulation paths. The elevation layer in the background gives us a general idea of the direction the water flows in the field, high elevation (pink) to low elevation (red). The flow paths range from dark black to white in colour. The lighter the shade of the flow path, indicates the more water it drains. For example, if a flow path is going east to west and turning black to grey to white in colour, that means the water is moving towards the west.

We recommend using the drainage plans as a guideline for surface drainage or ditching. Keep in mind that the drainage plan is only as good as the data and modelling that makes it up. The modelling does not tell us anything about where the water goes when it gets outside of the field or if there are unmapped areas within the field.

How to Use a Drainage Plan

To use a drainage plan when you’re in the field, open your SWAT RECORDS App on your smart phone or tablet, go to SWAT RECORDS -> Maps and Files -> Select your field, and open the drainage plan. Make a plan of which water-holding depressions you want to drain, and then follow the flow paths on the map when you are doing the ditching. Make sure your location services are turned on in the app settings so it shows your location on the map. In your Maps and Files folder, you should also have an individual depressions layer. This layer can be opened on its own and will have a legend that shows the depth of the depressions in feet.

Tile Drainage

If you are working with a tile drainage company, they typically use their own modelling software to make their drainage plans. In these cases, we can send our unprocessed RTK data to your contact with the drainage company to save you the costs of getting them to do the mapping again.

In Summary

If your fields are SWAT-MAPPED, that means we have the data available to make drainage plans, free of charge. Talk to your CropPro agronomist if you would like drainage plans made for any of your fields. These are not made automatically once a field is mapped – they are by request only.

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