Skip Navigation

Drainage Water Management

Graphic of how drainage water management works


DWM is the process of managing the timing and the amount of water discharged from agricultural drainage systems. DWM is based on the premise that the same drainage intensity is not required at all times during the year. With DWM, both water quality improvement and production benefits are possible. Water quality benefits are derived by minimizing unnecessary tile drainage, reducing the amount of nitrate that leaves farm fields. DWM systems can also retain water in fields that could be used for crop production later in the season.

Follow these links to:

Additional information:

Nutrient Management
Nutrient Management is managing the amount, source, placement, form, and timing of the application of plant nutrients and soil amendments. The current Illinois Agronomy Handbook should be used as a guide to establish nutrient and lime application rates. Nutrient management is used in conjunction with Drainage Water Management, Crop Rotation, Residue Management, Pest Management, conservation buffer practices, and/or other practices needed on a site-specific basis to address natural resource concerns and the landowner’s objectives. The major role of nutrient management is to minimize nutrient losses from fields, thus helping protect surface and ground water supplies.

A Nutrient Management Plan is a conservation plan that identifies the nutrient needs of a given crop or crops being planted to minimize nutrient runoff while still producing good yields. The Nutrient Management Conservation Practice Standard (590) provides technical guidance implementing these plans.  

Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMPs) are conservation plans unique to livestock operations. These plans document practices and strategies adopted by livestock operations to address natural resource concerns related to livestock manure and disposal of organic by-products.

Additional information:

National NRCS Nutrient Management
National NRCS Manure Nutrient Management

Illinois’ Animal Waste Management Field Handbook supplements
Illinois Conservation Activity Plan-CNMP criteria
Illinois Conservation Activity Plan-NMP criteria


Other Water Quality Links

Agricultural Phosphorus and Eutrophication
Surf Your Watershed
National Water Quality Assessment
National Watershed Network
Conservation Effects Assessment Program (CEAP) Reports


For more information contact:

Drainage Water Management
Ruth Book, State Conservation Engineer
Phone: 217-252-6626
Fax: 217-353-6678

Nutrient Management
Brett Roberts, State Conservation Agronomist
Phone: 217-353-6644
Fax: 217-353-6678