Description of practice

A trench or infiltration ditch is a deep and narrow ground excavation. Dug along contour lines, trenches and infiltration ditches are used to harvest surface water runoff and trap sediment, limiting soil erosion and often leading to progressive terrace formation.

Examples of how to use trenches and infiltration ditches Further information
(see Note below)

AMP02 01

Contour trenches with bunds

A 1.5 m wide trench is dug along contour lines with the soil piled in a bund alongside to reduce the velocity of runoff, conserve moisture in situ and increase ground water recharge. It is appropriate for use in light soils.


»WOCAT technology 1480

AMP02 02

Soil faced deep trench bunds

A deep trench is dug along contour lines with the soil piled in a compacted bund on the downslope side to harvest surface water and sediment runoff.


»WOCAT technology 1197

AMP02 03

Contour tied trenches

Trenches with tied downslope soil bunds are constructed along contour lines to trap surface water runoff and sediment from degraded uplands.


»WOCAT technology 1661

AMP02 04

Contour tied trenches with uphill bund

A contour trench is excavated along contour lines to trap runoff and increase infiltration. The trenches are tied, and the excavated soil piled upslope to speed up terrace formation.


»WOCAT technology 3455

AMP02 05

Infiltration trenches

A trench with a trapezoidal cross-section is excavated along contour lines to trap runoff and increase infiltration with the aim of improving groundwater recharge and plant growth.


»WOCAT technology 1258

AMP02 06

Retention ditches

A larger infiltration or retention ditch is constructed to trap runoff and increase infiltration for the benefit of the crops.


»WOCAT technology 1244
»WOCAT technology 1485

AMP02 07

Infiltration ditches and ponding banks

A larger scale construction of contour ditches and ponding banks is made to improve rainwater infiltration, groundwater recharge and enhance plant growth while safely discharging excess water to avoid erosion.


»WOCAT technology 2989

Note: Most of the Further information links are to a full description of the example in the WOCAT database. However sometimes the link may be to similar practices or a research paper. Occasionally the link is to a commercial product in which case it should be understood that this does not imply any endorsement of the product by iSQAPER.

Go To Top