Water is an essential resource that all life on Earth needs. The hydrology is the science that deals with the study of the water . When we refer to environmental measurements , hydrology refers to the physical movement that a body of water can have, changes in water level , flow and other processes related to it. Most hydrology applications involve surface water systems , such as rivers, open channels, and estuaries. Study movement , availability andwater quality is the work properly performed by a hydrologist . More specifically, hydrologists study the chemical properties , biological interactions , and physical processes that govern the water cycle.


What is hydrology?

Hydrology is the science that is responsible for the study of water, its movement , distribution and quality on earth, it studies both the hydrological cycle and the liquid resources that exist on the planet.

  • What does hydrology study
  • History
  • What is it for
  • Branches
  • Importance
  • Featured hydrologists
  • Books on hydrology
  • Hydrology in the world
  • Basic concepts

What does hydrology study

Hydrology is a science that aims to study water , its occurrence, the form in which it is distributed , how the flowing and its properties physical, chemical and mechanical having much water in the oceans , atmosphere and on the earth’s surface . It also studies all the bodies of water that exist on earth, such as coasts, seas and currents.



It has been studied since the years around 4000 BC, when the Nile River was dammed to improve agriculture and the lands that were barren . Aqueducts were made by the ancient Greeks and Romans , and were also built in China to control flooding and irrigation . The Sinhalese used hydrology to build irrigation works and invented valves to make reservoirs , dams, and canals .

Marcus Vitruvius , was the first to describe the hydrological cycle , and claimed that precipitation infiltrated the earth’s surface causing currents in the lowlands. Leonardo da Vinci and Bernard Palissy gave an exact form of the hydrological cycle.

The main exponents of hydrology in modern times were Pierre Perrault , Edme Mariotte and Edmund Halley. In the 19th century, groundwater hydrology developed .

By the 20th century, governments had their own research programs . Since the 1950s, the study of hydrology has had a more theoretical base , thanks to advances in the physics of hydrological processes, the use of computers and information systems, mainly geographic.

What is it for

Hydrography helps us to make a description with respect to the waters found on the planet. It serves to study the water that is essential for the development of all species, including man.


The main branches of hydrology are the following:

  • Chemical hydrology : it is the study of the chemical characteristics of water.
  • Eco hydrology : studies the interactions between living organisms and the hydrological cycle.
  • Hydrogeology : is responsible for studying the presence and movement of water in aquifers.
  • Hydro computing : it is the adaptation of information technology to hydrology and its applications to water resources.
  • Hydro meteorology : is responsible for studying the transfer of water and energy between land surfaces, water and the lower atmosphere.
  • Isotope hydrology : study of the isotopic signatures of water.
  • Surface hydrology : studies all those hydrological processes that occur on the surface of the Earth.


It is a very important science in various fields and aspects. One of them is in the correct planning of the use of hydraulic resources , and they study aspects such as water supply, sewage disposal , drainage, protection against the action of rivers and recreation.

The studies carried out are of great importance and relevance in the design of hydraulic works , for the optimized operation of water resources in a complex system of hydraulic works, to know the hydrological behavior of water sources in order to establish vulnerable areas . Its study helps prevent damage to road infrastructure , such as roads, highways, etc.

Featured hydrologists

Probably one of the most prominent hydrologists is Dr. Ramón Domínguez Mora.

Books on hydrology

Some of the books on hydrology are as follows:

  • Ven Te Chow, David R. Maidment, and Larry W. Mays Applied Hydrology
  • Fundamentals of Surface Hydrology by Francisco Javier Aparicio Mijares
  • Hydrology in Engineering by Germán Monsalve Sáenz
  • Treaty of Applied Hydrology of Gastón Remenieras
  • Kohler Linsley Hydrology for Engineers

Hydrology in the world

  • Argentina : its main rivers create an important hydrographic system with the Río de la Plata and its tributaries. These rivers help establish international and interprovincial boundaries . They are used for navigation , the irrigation, to produce energy electric and recreation .
  • Mexico : due to itsmountainous relief and the location of the mountains that are close to the coast, its rivers are short , fast and not navigable . Its rivers are divided into slopes that are: the Gulf of Mexico slope, the Pacific Ocean slope and the interior slopes.
  • Spain : is determined by the climate , the relief and the soil . Its rivers have strong drafts and are very large. Their basins have no symmetry

Basic concepts

  • The hydrological cycle is the phenomenon of global water circulation produced mainly by solar energy, and influenced by the forces of gravity and the Earth’s rotation.
  • Infiltration : is the process by which water on the surface of the earth enters the soil .
  • Precipitation : the product of the condensation of the steam of atmospheric water falling on the surface of the Earth.
  • The runoff is the flow of water, rain , snow, or other sources on the ground.

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