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1st June 2012

Natural flood management (NFM) knowledge system: The effect of land drainage on flood risk and farming practice

It is increasingly becoming understood that effective management of river basins in terms of water resources (floods, droughts, recreation and biodiversity) requires the integrated management of both land and water practices (O’Donnell et al., 2011). This integrated approach is also recognised as a requirement at smaller scales. For example, Abdel-Dayem (2006) notes that in most countries drainage systems are “...not designed to address simultaneously water management, disease control, drainage water reuse and flood management” and suggests that an approach to managing drainage from an integrated water and land perspective is essential.

Within this context, this report is one of three produced for CREW to verify the current state of knowledge on NFM. It briefly reviews the historical development of land drainage and looks at the impacts on flood risk from land drains and the recent move towards drain blocking.