HYDROLOGY A Science for Engineers

HYDROLOGY A Science for Engineers

Given the role of water in the Earth system, hydrology is a crucial branch of the
environmental and earth sciences. Likewise, given the importance of water to humans and
human welfare, hydrology forms a key component of engineering, providing a scientifi c
basis for water resources development. One strives to understand the role of water in the
Earth system and the other aims to use that understanding to solve societal problems. These
two expectations on the science need not be in confl ict, however, especially if hydrology
is viewed as a “use-inspired” basic science, in the spirit of Louis Pasteur. Indeed, the
intractability of many of the water challenges that face humanity demands more, not less,
fundamental understanding of hydrologic variability and complexity, over a range of time
and space scales, including the Earth system as a whole. It is in this spirit that Hingray,
Picouet and Musy have brought out this new book, aimed at presenting hydrology as both
a holistic earth science and engineering science.

Many current textbooks of hydrology tend to present a fragmented vision of hydrology,
treating individual processes separately (e.g., precipitation, infi ltration, runoff, evaporation),
with inadequate emphasis on how many of these processes interact to produce an emergent
whole system response. The fact is that the real world hydrologic systems we study, and
have to then predict to support engineering designs or decision-making, are in essence
whole systems, just as the real problems that we face, such as fl oods and droughts, are also
holistic. This demands that the way we teach hydrology to a new generation of hydrologists
must embrace this reality. Yet, historically, this has been diffi cult to achieve. This book
goes a long way towards satisfying this long felt need.


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