Department Environmental Chemistry

Shortcut

Input of plant protection products into surface waters in rural landscapes:
What is the relevance of hydraulic shortcuts ?

Plant protection products are commonly applied in agriculture. After application, however, they can be transported to surface waters impairing  water quality. Man-made hydraulic shortcuts (such as road storm drains or manholes of drainage systems) might play a major role in the transport but have been largely overlooked in the past.

In this project we investigate for the first time the relevance of such hydraulic shortcuts for plant protection products transport in Switzerland. This includes a classification of the hydraulic shortcuts, a GIS based assessment of their spatial distribution and an estimation of pesticide loads. These results will be verified by measuring transport through shortcuts at selected field sites.

The results will lead to recommendations for authorities and practitioners how to deal best with such hydraulic shortcuts.