Skip to main content
Drainage and Water Quality in Great Lakes and Cornbelt States
Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
  • Norman R. Fausey, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Larry C. Brown, Ohio State University
  • Harold W. Belcher, Michigan State University
  • Ramesh S. Kanwar, Iowa State University
Document Type
Publication Date
The soils and the climate of the Great Lakes and Cornbelt states dictate that drainage is required to carry out economically viable farming activities. When drained, the soils are very productive and this eight-state region accounts for nearly 80% of the agricultural production of the United States. Drainage played an important role in the development of the region and a historical perspective is included to indicate the impetus for drainage and the amount of drainage application. Research results of agricultural drainage effects on water quality indicate that agricultural subsurface drainage has both positive and negative impacts; i.e., reduction in sediment and phosphorous, and increase in nitrate-nitrogen delivery to receiving waters. Research is needed to evaluate the full potential of controlled drainage and water-table management systems for managing agricultural effects on water quality. This information is needed by state and federal agencies to help landowners meet existing and impending water-quality requirements. Drainage is an important management practice for improving water quality while sustaining agricultural viability.

This article is from Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 121 (1995): 283–288, doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9437(1995)121:4(283).

Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.
File Format
Citation Information
Norman R. Fausey, Larry C. Brown, Harold W. Belcher and Ramesh S. Kanwar. "Drainage and Water Quality in Great Lakes and Cornbelt States" Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering Vol. 121 Iss. 4 (1995) p. 283 - 288
Available at: