Acknowledgment of Country

We pay respect to the Traditional Owners of lutruwita (Tasmania), the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, and acknowledge their continued survival and connection with their land, sea and sky Country that spans millennia. We acknowledge the many Nations of Tasmanian Aboriginal people, past and present, as the traditional and ongoing owners of their respective countries within lutruwita and the islands. We pay respect to those who have passed and acknowledge today’s Aboriginal people who are the custodians of this land.

We acknowledge that all land, sea, and sky Country holds cultural values that provide strong and continuing significance to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. We acknowledge that Tasmanian Aboriginal people are part of a continuous culture that holds traditional knowledge about the ecosystems we all depend on. The landscapes of lutruwita have been shaped by Aboriginal management of plants, animals, and water (particularly using fire). We acknowledge that colonisation and migration has caused injustice for Aboriginal people and impacted the living cultural landscape. This has created a legacy that we seek to improve.

We are working to integrate Aboriginal cultural heritage and knowledge in natural resource management, and to develop better understanding of the cultural, environmental, social and economic dimensions of the region’s natural resources from the perspective of Aboriginal people. Through our work, we aim to reflect these values by recognising that Tasmanian Aboriginal people determine both the boundaries for the sharing of their cultural heritage and opportunities for participation in NRM activities that embrace and support their aspirations. We pay respect to Tasmanian Aboriginal people’s requirements to own, care and manage Country by aligning our strategic priorities to Tasmanian Aboriginal people’s land, sea and sky Country priorities.


“By sense of touch the feet assess the nature of the wilderness of earth beneath; yet human speech cannot express what feet can teach!”

- Francis Hole - Pedologist

Productive land use can be limited to such a degree by waterlogging that no further inputs will increase productivity. However, the degree to which a drainage system provides protection against waterlogging should be matched with the value of the crops to be grown. Drainage can be expensive and once the money has been invested underground, there is no getting it back. The investment in a new drainage system can be large and on-going and so it is recommended that independent advice is sought about the design. Investment in drainage usually has a relatively quick payback period and the benefits may continue to

be received for many years provided maintenance is sustained. Investment in a drainage system will also increase the capital value of the land as drainage can provide more management options and opportunities leading to increased profitability as well as better sustainability by lowering the risk of potential soil damage.

This book contains information on the effects of waterlogging, the benefits of drainage and how soils drain. Some ‘rules’ of drainage are described that have been learnt from practical experience, and how digital technology can assist in drainage planning and implementation. Details on diagnosing the problem correctly are included as they are critical to a good outcome. The different types of drains are described along with some problem soils to look out for. Maintaining a drainage system is needed in order to ensure its longevity and there are soil and grazing management options to be aware of. Water that is drained off the land can have impacts on the environment that need to be factored into any drainage system design. There is a list of references and further reading at the end of the book. Any errors and omissions are the authors. This book is a guide, hopefully practical, as it is based on years of experience, but advice should be sought from local advisers and contractors on best management practices, as drainage is a very site-specific solution to waterlogging that must be tailored to your landscape, soil types, farming system and most importantly your budget.

Bill Cotching has learnt much about waterlogging and drainage from Tasmanian farmers and his professional colleagues. Acknowledgement and thanks go to the following for contributing to Bill’s drainage knowledge: Colin Bastick, Bill Chilvers, Len Dixon, Marcus Hardie and Dick Godwin. Thank you to Mark Beattie, Will Bignell, Greg Gibson, James Gourley, Rob Tole, Rueben Wells, and Will Wishaw for their valuable drainage insights for this book. Thank you, Tahlia Kinrade, of NRM North, for bringing this book to publication and Marcus Hardie for reviewing an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Photograph acknowledgements: Greg Gibson (front cover lower right), Will Wishaw (p32 & p82), Reuben Wells (p48), Kade Dennison (p102).

ISBN: 978 0 6457715 5 8


NRM North, NRM South, Cradle Coast Authority, RMCG, the funding body and its employees have used reasonable means to verify the validity and accuracy of the data contained herein at the date of this publication, however to the extent allowed by law, they do not warrant or represent that the data will be correct, current, fit/suitable for a particular purpose or not misleading. All persons preparing data that has been used in this report, accept no liability for the accuracy of or inferences from material contained in this publication, or for action as a result of any person’s or group’s interpretation, deductions, conclusions or actions in relying on this material.