HYDROLOGY – DEFINITION AND ITS RELATION TO ENVIRONMENT

Definition of Hydrology : Hydrology is the science that deals with the water of the Earth, its occurrence, circulation and distribution, its chemical and physical properties, its reaction with the environment, including its relation to living things. The domain of Hydrology embraces the full life history of water on earth. This definition of Hydrology gives light on the basic concept about the subject. Another definition has a resource approach. According to this, Hydrology is the science that deals with the processes governing the depletion and replenishment of the water resources of the land areas of the earth. Development of Hydrology : From these perspections, the development of Hydrology includes four sequential phases viz., (a) the Conceptual Hydrology i.e., the basic concepts of the subject; (b) the Engineering Hydrology i.e., the measurement and analysis of water; (c) the Environmental Hydrology i.e., the distribution and crisis of water as a resource in the environment and (d) the Applied Hydrology i.e., Hydrology for the social development. Global Distribution of Water : Water covers 70%of the globe but by volume only 3% of whole is fresh and most of this lying in the frost form. So, only even less than 1% of fresh water is accessible in forms of surface water. Only 1/4th. of the world population can get water and rest 3/4th. do not. In Iceland the annual renewable fresh water is over 600,000 cubic m. per capita whereas; in Kuwait it is only 75 cubic m. per capita. This is the uneven distribution of global terrestrial water. The source of fresh water that is accessible is the fresh water of rivers, annual average flow of which is 35,000 to 50,000 cubic km. per year i.e., less than 1%.
Fig.: 1 GLOBAL WATER AND ITS USES BY HUMANS

Water Shortage : Globally 12.5 to 14 billions cubic m. water per year is available for human use which comes to nearly 9,000 cubic m. per person per year. in account. It is estimated that, by year 2025, availability of fresh

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water per capita will drop globally to 5,100 cubic m. per person. So, 2 billions water more is to be added. Todays estimated global water demand is 4,000 cubic km. per year. Among which 80% is for agriculture and irrigation.
Fig. 2 WORLD’S DISTRIBUTION OF WATER

Almost in 31 countries 80% of population face water shortage (2-8 billions people, nearly). Some of these countries are India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, etc. which face both seasonal as well as general shortage of water. The following data shows the source, volume and percentage of existence of water that had been collected from Nace, U.S. Geological Survey, 1967 and The Hydrologic Cycle (Pamphlet), U.S. Geological Survey, 1984.
TABLE SHOWING THE SOURCE AND EXISTANCE OF GLOBAL WATER

Water source Oceans Icecaps, Glaciers Ground water Fresh-water lakes Inland seas Soil moisture Atmosphere Rivers Total water volume

Water volume, in Percent of cubic miles total water 317,000,000 7,000,000 2,000,000 30,000 25,000 16,000 3,100 300 326,000,000 97.24% 2.14% 0.61% 0.009% 0.008% 0.005% 0.001% 0.0001% 100%

Application of Hydrologic knowledge to Environment : The relation of Hydrology to Environment can be established in several ways. These include the following features –

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(a) The water balance equation : in Hydrology clearly describes the mutual relationships of different environmental factors between precipitation (P), Surface and Sub-surface Runoff (S), Transpiration (T), Evaporation from Ground surface (E), Interception (I) and Discharge of water storage (Q). The Equation may be formulated as – WATER BALANCE (W) = P – ( Q + E T )
Fig. 3 THE DANGERS OF WATER SHORTAGES IN SEMI-ARID DEVELOPING LANDS (After Falkenmark, 1989) – A Complex Model

(b) Only a detailed Hydrologic knowledge can be helpful for a proper water management and decisionmaking program. This science helps man to take decision in the right direction for use and management of anything related to water and other elements of Hydrology and their processes. For instance, in India, the average consumption per person is only about 680 cubic m. per year for all uses. With this in mind the use of water in India has been canalized in the following manner –
TABLE SHOWING THE USE OF WATER IN DIFFERENT SECTORS IN INDIA

Serial Different Percentage of Number Sectors Total Water in Use 1 Domestic, Drinking Water 4% 2 Industry, 12% Thermal Power and Other Sectors 3 Agriculture, Irrigation 84%

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Though this has been projected that this sector wise use of water may increase accordingly with the successive increase of population within coming 25 to 50 years. Then, India needs to manage this system with a more controlled planning. (c) Elements of the Hydrological Cycle are affected by man’s activities and the knowledge of Hydrology helps in understanding the effects of such activities and show how they can be checked. The following table depicts relationship between Environment and the Hydrological Processes and elements and environment –
TABLE SHOWING THE RELATION BETWEEN ENVIRONMENT AND HYDROLOGY

Human Activities Disruption of Natural cover of the Earth’s Surface Application of Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides Construction of reservoirs and dams Regulation of Streams Urbanization and Development of industry Intensive Methods of Cultivation and irrigation

Results on Environment Floods and accelerated water erosion as seen in Darjeeling Himalayan Regions Degradation of water resources Change in water regime as evidenced from the impact of the Farraka Barrage Speeding up surface runoff Preventing floods Creation of waste and pollution of water (physical and chemical changes) Increase in soil water salinity

Some Important Hydrological Elements and Processes that are involved in the Proposed Environmental phenomenon Infiltration, Seepage, Surface runoff, Ground water Surface storage, Ground water, Soil moisture Surface runoff, Ground water Surface runoff, Depression storage Surface water, Ground water Soil water

Hydrology and River Environment : The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, water supply for human consumption industrial and agricultural use and for the generation of power is a prominent issue at the Earth Summit. They focused on the multipurpose river projects like Thames, Tyne, Rhine, etc. Climate-change and Hydrology : Askew lists the position of both pure and applied hydrology in respect to the role of the climate and the society. The following chart depicts this view clearly –
Fig. 4 CLIMATE CHANGE AND HYDROLOGY – A SIMPLE FLOW CHART

Climate change = > Hydrological Processes = > Water Resource Systems = > Society Thus, Hydrology plays a central part in the current world climate programs and has a leading role in the Global Environment Water Cycle Experiment (GEWCEX).

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The following diagram exhibits the influences of climate on water resources in general. This diagram follows the main theme as proposed by Arnell et.al. in the year 1990.
Fig. 5 THE INFLUENCES OF CLIMATE ON WATER RESOURCES

Hydrology in relation to Indian Environment : In India, 200 millions people do not have access to safe drinking water. According to Ministry of Rural Development about 1.5 millions children under 5 years die each year due to water related diseases. It has been estimated that only 20% ground water is stored in urban 249 blocks have finished its storage totally (80%). From the year 1980, ground water table of India has decreased 4m. or more. 19 major Indian cities, including Kolkata faces fresh water shortage though it has been informed in 1991, that per capita drinking water supply is above 250 liters per day in Kolkata. But the major problem in Kolkata and other urbanized part of West Bengal is the arsenic contamination. Within the Calcutta (Kolkata) Metropolitan Region Baruipur Jadavpur, Banshdroni, etc. have been affected much. Though now, water samples tested at All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health and School of Environmental Studies under Jadavpur University. After a great devotion to Hydrologic study from a pilot study instituted by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Area (KMDA) in 1976, the estimated unaccounted water for some of the cities in India are –
TABLE SHOWING THE UNACCOUNTED WATER

Name of Indian Cities Unaccounted Water in Percentage Kolkata 30% Mumbai 24% Delhi 30% Beside the above environmental situations, mosquito related diseases like Malaria, Filariasis, Dengue, Encephalitis, etc. are also rooted from the water pollution, which is a great problem in nowadays. The recent Hydrologic application also includes in order to find out the degree of water pollution and its effect on environment.

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Summery : Water in both the quantitative and qualitative sense, is a very important factor of the transformation of environment. Thus establishing scientific criteria for research, documentation and exchange of information on water resources planning, management and use and related environmental issues are contemporary issues in Hydrology and no doubt have a close link with the present day environment. References : 1. Indian Statistical Handbook 2. Papers published on different journals 3. World wide webs

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