2022 | Hungary | Water issue adressed: Too much

Development of a Protection Method Against Soil Erosion and Water Conservation in Szekszárd

The aim of our research is to examine the impact of extreme rainfall distribution caused by climate change on the extent of soil erosion and to develop a proposal to make water management more efficient and to reduce soil erosion processes.

Our research was carried out in the northern part of Szekszárd in the Parásztai-Séd valley, where the typical agricultural activity is viticulture. We began our studies by analyzing precipitation data for the last forty years in the city. Soil samples were collected, soil texture determination and soil erosion estimation were performed. The runoff of Parásztai-Séd and the amount of suspended solids carried by water were measured, and then the water management of the soil was examined.

Our studies have proofed that the distribution of precipitation is becoming more and more extreme. The soil type of the valley is sensitive to erosion, which is already exceeding the rate of soil formation in the vineyards. The highest displacement is typical during times of extreme precipitation. The water management of the top of the soil is sensitive to drought periods and for the slow vertical water flow. Overall, water conservation and soil erosion prevention measures are needed in the valley.

In addition to the traditional solutions, the Ecotany model we developed could also be applied. Part of the project was the design of a rainwater harvesting device that, thanks to its automated operation, would not only reduce the impact of rainfall on soil erosion, but also prevent the development of plants by shading during the rainless period. Thirdly, the gradual return of the collected water to the production area would also reduce the effects of wind erosion and feed the vegetation covering the ground.

The installation of the eco-farm model and the associated stormwater collector comes at a high cost, which not all farmers can afford, so we wanted to develop a new cheaper and also efficient solution. Mulching has long been a technique used to prevent erosion in vineyards, and we wanted to improve its efficiency. This is to prevent the water flowing down the hill from accelerating because the soil trap absorbs the water thanks to the layered mulch. The soil traps were re-done every 10-15 meters so that if one of the traps was full of water, the water could not accelerate again.

The method was subjected to a control measurement several times after rain, where we could prove our theory, the method works. With this inexpensive and proven effective method of control, every farmer can protect themselves against erosion caused by extreme weather events.

This is how I came up with the idea for this project:

We live in a region typically involved in grape growing. We have noticed that soil erosion is causing a lot of damage to farmers. Existing solutions are expensive and not everyone can afford the investment. We decided to experiment with a cheaper, easy to implement solution.

Ania Andersch
Programme manager
+46 8 121 360 59