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What is it?

Waterlogging is where soil pores are saturated with water for significant periods of time because of impeded drainage.

In some cases water may accumulate on the soil surface as infiltration and transmission of water into soil decreases.

Additional information on compaction is available in the soil health section of the VRO website.

Examples of soil degradation - Water Logging
Photograph of an area of waterlogged soil in a flat landscape with free water building-up on the soil surface


Waterlogging restricts aeration and gas exchange and thus causes a shut down in many ecosystem functions of soil. Respiration and plant growth are reduced and the plant may die if the waterlogging persists. Vegetation will change over time as plants tolerant to waterlogging gain an advantage.

Saturated soils loose strength and hence tractability is lost and the soil is highly susceptible to pugging.


If the waterlogged area is not a natural wetland (there are legislative requirements for the protection of wetlands) and the waterlogging has been induced, the primary requirement is to improve soil internal drainage. This will involve modification of restricting layers (probably compacted zones) in the soil profile to increase porosity and permeability.

Victorian Information

Further information on waterlogging can be found on the soil health site.

Related Links

Information Note AG0956: Managing wet soils: what are your best options?
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