The digging of ditches and laying of pipes may be necessary as part of conservation management in the following situations:
- To provide a means of regulating the water table of wetland nature reserves, in order to maintain or diversify habitats.
- To increase the water flow into a pond or wetland area.
- To prevent changes in the water regime or to restore an earlier managed regime by repairing existing ditches and drains.
- To maintain paths and tracks in good condition over steep or damp ground, thus preventing erosion and damage. For more information on this subject see Footpaths.
The principles of land drainage, described in textbooks of agricultural drainage (Hudson, 1975; Smedma and Rycroft, 1983), also apply to making or keeping land wet. The procedures of field inspection, levelling and pegging out, and design of ditches and piped systems, normally used for drainage, are also relevant for the design of systems to manage wetlands.