Getting water off the path

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Getting water off the path surface should be one of the first priorities when designing a path. The surface profile of the path is an important factor in removing water that is lying on or flowing down a path. Flat or undulating surfaces can result in ponding of water or scour, which will cause inconvenience to users, and can lead to erosion. So some form of drainage feature is required in the path surface to ensure water flows off easily and quickly.

When designing how to get water off the path, you need to consider who will use the path so that you don't create physical barriers that form trip hazards and make access for people difficult. Designing drainage features, such as water bars, in to the path surface should be considered as last resort - they create a step which can cause a trip hazard or puncture a bicycle tyre, but most importantly they will make taking access for most users difficult - a wheelchair, bicycle or pram will have to pass around the raised feature in order to continue along the path. In the first instance, you should consider the least restrictive option which is the camber, crossfall or cut-off drain.

The following sections explain the drainage techniques for catching and moving water off the path surface:

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