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The Hydrology ( ancient Greek ὕδωρ HYDOR 'water' and λόγος lógos , teaching ') is the science that deals with the water in the biosphere is concerned the earth. In doing so, she looks at water in terms of its appearance, circulation and distribution in space and time, as well as its physical, chemical and biological properties and its interactions with the environment, including relationships with living beings.


The term hydrology was not clearly defined until the 1960s. The branch of science was only taken seriously when an impulse came from the international sector in 1963: It was the International Hydrological Decade (IHD) of UNESCO between 1965 and 1974. For the first time, representatives of other specialist areas discussed in the Senate and Main Committee of the German Research Foundation (DFG ) that hydrology was completely backward in comparison to other countries in Germany and that cooperation in an international context required special support and development work.

In the late 1970s, the geographer Reiner Keller launched the physical geography course with a specialization and degree in hydrology at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg . In recent times there has been a tendency to include socio-economic aspects relating to water in the subject area.

On September 23, 2011 the founding and first general meeting of the German Hydrological Society (DHydroG) took place in Koblenz in the Federal Institute for Hydrology .

Subdivision and classification in the scientific canon

The structure differentiates between oceanology (hydrology of the seas), water science (hydrology of the mainland), limnology (inland water science), which includes potamology (river science), and hydrometry (hydrological measurement). In the context of hydrography , the distribution and flow of the water is measured quantitatively.

Related Subjects are mainly the hydrology (spatial distribution of water, as well as interaction with its environment), the hydrogeology , which is primarily concerned with the underground water and the geochemical interactions with rocks, the water chemistry , the physics of the atmosphere , the Meteorology , the glaciology as a science which deals with the formation, the forms, the effects and the distribution of the ice on the solid earth, the sedimentology with the special field of the alluviology ( bedrock science ), the pedology and the geology as one of the basic disciplines of the geosciences , the geography and the hydromorphology .

According to de Haar's system for hydrology (1974), hydrology is divided into three basic subjects:

  1. Quantitative hydrology with hydrometeorology, hydrology of surface water, hydropedology and hydrogeology
  2. Qualitative hydrology with hydrophysics, hydrochemistry and biohydrology
  3. Hydrological special subjects with the quantitative parts isopot hydrology, hydrometry, engineering hydrology, mathematical hydrology and the qualitative parts agricultural hydrology, forest hydrology, coastal hydrology, karst hydrology and hydrogeography

Tasks of hydrology

The main areas of work in hydrology are the observation and measurement of hydrological changes, the systematic analysis of hydrological processes as the basis for the development and expansion of theories and processes, and the application of these theories and processes to solve various tasks in practice. Diverse practical tasks of hydrology related to the water , so the management of above-ground waters (rivers, lakes, reservoirs) in connection with the water supply , the water power extraction, the flood protection and public uses of water, such as for leisure activities.


  • Albert Baumgartner, Hans-Jürgen Liebscher: General hydrology, quantitative hydrology. 2nd Edition. Borntraeger, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-443-30002-2 . (Textbook of hydrology 1)
  • Siegfried Dyck (Ed.): Applied hydrology. Part 1: Calculation and regulation of the flow of rivers, Part 2: The water balance of the river areas, Ernst, Berlin 1976.
  • Siegfried Dyck, Gerd Peschke: Fundamentals of hydrology. 3. Edition. Verlag für Bauwesen, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-345-00586-7 .
  • Hubert Hellmann: Qualitative hydrology. Borntraeger, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-443-30003-0 . (Textbook of hydrology 2)
  • Ulrich Maniak: hydrology and water science. 5th edition. Springer, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-540-20091-6 .
  • DIN 4049 Part 1: Basic terms, Part 2: Terms of water quality, Part 3: Terms of quantitative hydrology. Beuth Verlag, Berlin.
  • J. Barner: Hydrology - An Introduction for Natural Scientists and Engineers. Heidelberg and Wiesbaden, 1987.
  • Ven Te Chow: Handbook of Applied Hydrology. New York 1964.
  • Ulrich de Haar: Contribution to the question of the scientific systematic classification and structure of water research. In: Contributions to hydrology. No. 2, 1974.
  • Ulrich de Haar: Thoughts on the development of hydrological research in Germany. In: German hydrological communications. Issue 1, 1995.
  • Reiner Keller: Waters and the water balance of the mainland - an introduction to hydrology. Leipzig 1963.
  • Reiner Keller: hydrology. Wiesbaden. (from Earnings of Research, Vol. 143, 1980)
  • W. Wundt: Hydrology , Berlin / Göttingen / Heidelberg 1953.
  • Themistocles Dracos: hydrology. An introduction for engineers. Vienna / New York 1980.
  • German Research Foundation (Ed.): Hydrology and Regionalization: Results of a Priority Program (1992–1998). Weinheim 1999.
  • German Research Foundation (Ed.): Water research in the field of tension between coping with the present and securing the future. Memorandum. Weinheim 2003.
  • Herbert Hellmann: Qualitative Hydrology. Textbook of hydrology. Volume 2. Berlin / Stuttgart 1999.
  • Reimer Herrmann : Introduction to hydrology. Stuttgart, 1976.
  • RK Linsley, MA Kohler, JLH Paulhus: Hydrology for Engineers. New York 1982.
  • A. Baumgartner, E. Reichel: The world water balance. Munich 1975.
  • HR Böhm, M. Deneke (Ed.): Water. An introduction to environmental science . Darmstadt 1992
  • Wilfried Brutsaert: Principles of Hydrology. An Introduction. Cambridge (UK) 2005.
  • Wilfried Brutsaert: Hydrology. An Introduction. Cambridge 2005, p. 1.
  • Thorsten Wagener, Howard S. Wheater and Hoshin V. Gupta: Rainfall-Runoff Modeling in Gauged and Ungauged Catchments . London (UK) 2004.
  • G. Strigel, A.-D. Ebner von Eschenbach, U. Barjenbruch (Hrsg.): Water - basis of life . Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-510-65266-2 .
  • Andreas Schumann: "IWRM 2010, new requirements for hydrology", journal Hydrologie und Wasserwirtschaft, issue 2, 2010, p. 105ff.
  • Andreas Schumann: "Hydrology - Research Between Theory and Practice", Journal Hydrologie und Wasserwirtschaft, Issue 4, 2011, p. 215ff.
  • Practical hydrology: basics and exercises, Hartmut Wittenberg (author), Vieweg and Teubner Verlag
  • Hydrology and Water Management: An Introduction for Engineers, Ulrich Maniak (author), Springer Verlag
  • The water in its forms as clouds and rivers, ice and glaciers, John Tyndall (author), Salzwasser-Verlag
  • Water - the basis of life: hydrology for a changing world, Gerhard Strigel, Anna-Dorothea Ebner von Eschenbach and Ulrich Barjenbruch (authors), Schweizerbart'Sche publishing house
  • Hydrology and Material Dynamics of Small Catchment Areas: Processes and Models, Erich J. Plate and Erwin Zehe (authors), Schweizerbart'Sche publishing house
  • Hydraulic engineering: hydrological principles, elements of hydraulic engineering, utility and protective structures on inland waters, Daniel Vischer and Andreas Huber (authors), Springer Verlag
  • Textbook of hydrology, Vol. 2, Qualitative hydrology, water quality and material flows, Hans-Jürgen Liebscher and Hubert Hellmann (authors), Borntraeger Verlag
  • Textbook of Hydrology, Vol. 1, General Hydrology, Quantitative Hydrology, Albert Baumgartner and Hans-Jürgen Liebscher (authors), Borntraeger Verlag
  • Pocket book of water management, Kurt Lecher, Hans-Peter Lühr and Ulrich C. Zanke (authors), Vieweg + Teubner Verlag
  • Water 2050: Opportunities for the German water industry, Engelbert Schramm (author), Oekom Verlag
  • Handbook of hydraulics: for hydraulic engineering and water management, Detlef Aigner and Gerhard Bollrich (authors), Beuth Verlag
  • HYDROLOGY: THE STUDY OF WATER, Taylor-Butler, Christine (authors), Children's Press Verlag
  • Applied Hydrology (Civil Engineering), Ven Te Chow (Author), Mcgraw-Hill Higher Education Verlag

Web links

Wiktionary: hydrology  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Wilfried Brutsaert: Hydrology. An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, ISBN 0-521-82479-6 , p. 1.