Surface-water hydrology
Surface-water hydrology
Hydrology is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability...

is a field that encompasses all surface waters of the globe (overland flows, rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, oceans, etc). This a subset of the hydrologic cycle that does not include atmospheric, and ground waters.
Surface-water hydrology relates the dynamics of flow in surface-water systems (river
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s, canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s, stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

s, lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

s, pond
A pond is a body of standing water, either natural or man-made, that is usually smaller than a lake. A wide variety of man-made bodies of water are classified as ponds, including water gardens, water features and koi ponds; all designed for aesthetic ornamentation as landscape or architectural...

s, wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s, marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

es, arroyo
Arroyo (creek)
An arroyo , a Spanish word translated as brook, and also called a wash is usually a dry creek or stream bed—gulch that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain. Wadi is a similar term in Africa. In Spain, a rambla has a similar meaning to arroyo.-Types and processes:Arroyos...

s, oceans, etc.). This includes the field measurement of flow
A hydrograph is a graph showing the rate of flow versus time past a specific point in a river, or other channel or conduit carrying flow...

 (discharge); the statistical variability at each setting; floods; drought susceptibility and the development of the levels of risk; and the fluid mechanics of surface waters.

In-depth analysis of surface-water components of the hydrologic cycle: hydrometeorology, evaporation/transpiration, rainfall-runoff relationships
A hydrograph is a graph showing the rate of flow versus time past a specific point in a river, or other channel or conduit carrying flow...

, open-channel flow, flood hydrology, fluid mechanics, and statistical and probabilistic methods in hydrology.
Surface-water hydrology includes the relation between rainfall and surface runoff
Surface runoff
Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source...

; this relationship is an important aspect of water resources
Water resources
Water resources are sources of water that are useful or potentially useful. Uses of water include agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities. Virtually all of these human uses require fresh water....

 for sewerage (wastewater
Wastewater is any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influence. It comprises liquid waste discharged by domestic residences, commercial properties, industry, and/or agriculture and can encompass a wide range of potential contaminants and concentrations...

) or (sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

), drinking water
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

, agriculture (irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

) environmental protection, and for flood control
Flood control
In communications, flood control is a feature of many communication protocols designed to prevent overwhelming of a destination receiver. Such controls can be implemented either in software or in hardware, and will often request that the message be resent after the receiver has finished...


The relationships between groundwater
Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock...

 and surface water
Surface water
Surface water is water collecting on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean; it is related to water collecting as groundwater or atmospheric water....

 includes baseflow
Baseflow is the portion of streamflow that comes from "the sum of deep subsurface flow and delayed shallow subsurface flow"...

 needs for instream flow,
and subsurface water levels in well
Water well
A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn by an electric submersible pump, a trash pump, a vertical turbine pump, a handpump or a mechanical pump...


A stormwater engineer is a civil engineer
Civil engineer
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

 who manages the flow, filtering, and release of stormwater
Stormwater is water that originates during precipitation events. It may also be used to apply to water that originates with snowmelt that enters the stormwater system...


See also

  • Hydrological transport model
    Hydrological transport model
    An hydrological transport model is a mathematical model used to simulate river or stream flow and calculate water quality parameters. These models generally came into use in the 1960s and 1970s when demand for numerical forecasting of water quality was driven by environmental legislation, and at...

  • Runoff model (reservoir)
    Runoff model (reservoir)
    A runoff model is a mathematical model describing the rainfall - runoff relations of a rainfall catchment area, drainage basin or watershed. More precisely, it produces the surface runoff hydrograph as a response to a rainfall hydrograph as input...

  • Moisture recycling
    Moisture recycling
    In hydrology, moisture recycling or precipitation recycling refer to the process by which a portion of the precipitated water that evapotranspired from a given area contributes to the precipitation over the same area. Moisture recycling is thus a component of the hydrologic cycle...

  • Surface water
    Surface water
    Surface water is water collecting on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean; it is related to water collecting as groundwater or atmospheric water....

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