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 Information At a Glance

  • Drainage can be either natural or artificial. Conventional subsurface drainage systems are of two types, vertical (tubewells) and horizontal (drainpipe) systems. Biodrainage, can be less costly and more environmentally friendly. It is a combined drainage-cum-disposal system. Biodrainage relies on vegetation, rather than mechanical means, to remove excess water.
  • The driving force behind the biodrainage concept is the consumptive water use of plants. One of the major factors determining the sustainability of plant productivity (and thus plant water use) processes is salt balance.

Application & Technology

  • Biodrains are configured into two different types mainly Annular flow systems and baffled flow systems. One metre length of bio-drain having a square cross section of 1 sq ft is able to reduce the organic load by 70-75 per cent. In the case of annular flow systems similar fibrous pads kept as concentric rings and wastewater flows through them with out any significant obstruction to flow.
  • The BioDrain fluid management system can be used to dispose of fluid wastes from many medical procedures. Bio-Polymer Slurry Drainage Trench Technique is  modification of the slurry trench method which uses a biodegradable material instead of bentonite to support narrow, vertical excavations.
  • The introduction of controlled drainage has the potential to improve the livelihoods of farmers by reducing water application costs and maintaining agricultural production in water short years. At the basin scale the technique can save the quantity of water being used for irrigation.


  • Biodrainage has not been used extensively in large-scale projects, although it has promise under the right conditions. Biodrainage removes excess groundwater through transpiration by vegetation with high water use, such as eucalyptus trees. Disadvantages are that biodrainage areas use potential cropland, do not remove salts, and may interfere with water use by crops.
  • Drainage removes excess water from the soil profile and provides a tool to control soil salinity. Some soils drain naturally but in many irrigated lands drainage systems have to be installed and operated to maintain watertables at an acceptable level.
  • Agricultural land drainage systems are usually designed to cope with worst-case situations in terms of crop rooting depths and drainage requirements, as well as the expected loss of performance as systems age. Farmers often over-irrigate to compensate for rapid removal of water by drainage systems.

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