Water Erosion: Types, Causes & Effects

The top layer of the land is removed by water erosion, which can be caused by irrigation, rainfall, snowmelt, runoff, and ineffective irrigation management. Rainwater is usually the cause of this situation. Canyons are one example of water erosion.

Types of water erosion

The types of soil erosion by water Q640 min
Types of water erosion

Splash Erosion :

It is when raindrops hit the ground, and the splash of the raindrops turns the barren ground into flowing mud. About 20 mph is the average speed at which raindrops fall. It produces three different erosional damage.

Sheet Erosion:

The smallest soil particles, which contain nutrients and organic matter, are lost when the intensity of the rainfall exceeds the capacity of the soil to absorb water. It typically comes after crusting, which is brought on by the earlier stage of water damage to the soil.

Rill Erosion :

It happens when soil-laden runoff water flows up slopes and forms tiny finger-shaped channels. The stage between sheet erosion and gully erosion is known as rill erosion.

Gully Erosion :

The rill grows into gullies as concentrated runoff increases in volume and gains speed on slopes. Bullock cart tracks or animal burrows are frequent places where gullies begin.

Gullies eventually develop into ravines, which can range in depth from 50 to 10 feet. It also results in the reduction of water quality by increasing the sediment load in streams.

Slip Erosion:

Large amounts of rock and soil physically fall fields during landslides, causing slip erosion. Slip erosion has regional implications.

Causes of water erosion

  • Raindrops impacting bare soil and the force of flowing water on the soil’s surface both contribute to erosion.
  • The soil structure deteriorates due to excessive disturbance or low organic matter inputs when the plant cover is diminished, resulting in wider intervals between plants. This leads to accelerated erosion.
  • Compaction raises the likelihood of rapid erosion and runoff.
  • Unstable soil aggregates bounded together have low organic matter causing erosion, reducing infiltration, and resulting in the high runoff.
  • Poorly constructed or maintained roads or trails can concentrate runoff, which can speed up erosion on nearby slopes and in roadbeds.

Effects of water erosion


  • Soil quality, stability, texture, and structure can be affected by the loss of soil.
  • Removal of soil particles or soil layers can weaken the structure and change the texture
  • Textural changes can affect the water holding capacity of the soil, making it more susceptible to extreme conditions such as drought.


Sediments that reach water sources or streams can:

  • Accelerate bank erosion
  • Obstruct stream
  • Fill in reservoirs
  • Damage fish habitat and degrade downstream water quality

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