Physical soil and water conservation measures

Overview about physical measures
Overview about physical measures
Image Credit: Anette Stumptner 2007 after data from Heathcote 1998, Krüeger et al 1997, Lal 1995, Tidemann 1996

Physical measures are structures built for soil and water conservation. Some principles should be considered. They should aim to

  • increase the time of concentration of runoff, thereby allowing more of it to infiltrate into the soil;
  • divide a long slope into several short ones and thereby reducing amount and velocity of surface runoff;
  • reduce the velocity of the surface runoff;
  • protect against damage due to excessive runoff [10].

In most systems any physical measure can be built – check dams or contour ditches, for example [13].

For example, in the Gina River catchment in Ethiopia, walls and terraces are used. Both serve as control structures to prevent soil erosion processes - a major problem in this drainage basin.

Terraces are explained in more detail on the following learning page.