Linda Jones, Northeast Center, Saratoga Unit, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“Developing sustainable strategies for restoring, maintaining, and effectively managing sources of potable water is one of the top global environmental challenges currently facing human populations.  Water-related environmental challenges are centered on issues of availability, accessibility and quality.  There are a number of disciplines which contribute to our understanding of current and historical patterns of global, regional and local water cycling.”

“Hydrology is the study of surface water flow.  The focus is on watershed analysis: infiltration, surface runoff, stream channel flow, flood frequency, pollution, aquatic ecosystem health, and wetlands.  Hydrogeology focuses on groundwater flow, quantity and quality.  Groundwater is an important freshwater resource—35 times the amount of freshwater present in lakes and rivers.  Meteorology and Climatology contribute to our understanding of the amount of water a region can expect to receive during any given period.  Meteorology examines short term weather patterns to determine trends in precipitation, including drought and flooding.  Climatology provides an understanding of the long term precipitation conditions of a region—averages, extremes and seasonality.  Oceanography provides the larger context for global and regional patterns of precipitation.  One gains an appreciation for the role the oceans play in regulating climate conditions and the availability of water.  Environmental engineers, land use planners, farmers, communities, and individuals are able to use the knowledge and experience gained by researchers and practitioners in these fields to develop management plans which work with environmental parameters to provide sustainable water for consumption and cultivation.”