An open ditch, also referred to as a drainage ditch, is a narrow and uncovered channel that cuts into the ground on one side of a road or field, typically for carrying wastewater, drainage, or excess irrigation. Open ditches are more often used in rural or agricultural communities than in urban areas. Typically, the open ditches are unlined and not paved, making them easier to maintain and less expensive compared to covered pipes; although, paved ditches lined with concrete or rock typically perform better. Like levees and other similar engineered mechanisms discussed in the previous chapter, paved ditches may cause erosion issues and can also fail, resulting in increased maintenance and repair costs. Open ditches are also an important remaining refuge for biodiversity, when increased vegetation is applied (e.g. bioswales) and are commonly used in countries such as the Netherlands (Mukete et al., 2013).
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