Seasonal effects of controlled drainage on field water balance and groundwater levels

Heidi Salo*, Aleksi Salla, Harri Koivusalo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
60 Downloads (Pure)


Adaptive water management solutions such as controlled drainage have raised interest in Nordic areas due to climate variability. It is not fully known how controlled drainage affects seasonal field water balance or can help in preventing water scarcity during dry growing seasons (GSs). The objective was to simulate the effects of controlled drainage on field hydrology using a well-tested, process-based hydrological model. The FLUSH model was calibrated and validated to an experimental field. The model performance with non-local input data was moderate but acceptable for running the controlled drainage scenarios to test the response of the water management method to meteorological forcing. Simulation results showed that controlled drainage reduced drain discharge while increasing surface layer runoff and shallow groundwater outflow. Groundwater depths from the scenario simulations demonstrated that controlled drainage could keep the depth closer to the soil surface, but the effect diminished during the dry conditions. Controlled drainage can be used to change the water flow pathways but has a secondary effect compared with the primary meteorological drivers. The field data set and FLUSH formed a novel computational platform to study the impacts of different water management options on the whole water balance and spatial variability of groundwater depths.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1633
Pages (from-to)1633-1647
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • controlled drainage
  • groundwater depth
  • modeling
  • water balance


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