Hydrology: Environmental

Authored by: Thomas Boving

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-ENRW-120047594

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Abstract

The science of environmental hydrology focuses on the spatial and temporal variability of water quality and its evolution in the hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere. It encompasses the occurrence, distribution, and variability of water quality in ground water, surface water, the unsaturated zone, and the atmosphere. The principal scientific challenge of environmental hydrology is to describe in quantitative terms the complex chemical, physical, and microbiological processes that influence the solute transport in surface and subsurface water. Environmental hydrology, therefore, is a multidisciplinary science. In addition, a practicing environmental hydrologist must be cognizant about current environmental laws and regulations pertaining to their work. While environmental hydrology primarily focuses on water quality, its study cannot be isolated from studying the quantity of water interacting with the environment. Water scarcity is among the main challenges humanity faces in the 21st century and environmental hydrologists have to play an important role addressing this problem.

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