|Themes > Science > Earth Sciences > Hydrology, Meteorology, Climatology > Hydrology > Hydrology > What Hydrologists Do?|
Hydrologists apply scientific knowledge and mathematical principles to solve water-related problems in society: problems of quantity, quality and availability. They may be concerned with finding water supplies for cities or irrigated farms, or controlling river flooding or soil erosion. Or, they may work in environmental protection: preventing or cleaning up pollution or locating sites for safe disposal of hazardous wastes.
Persons trained in hydrology may have a wide variety of job titles. Some specialize in the study of water in just one part of the hydrologic cycle: limnologists (lakes); oceanographers (oceans); hydrometeorologists (atmosphere); glaciologists (glaciers); geomorphologists (landforms); geochemists (groundwater quality); and hydrogeologists (groundwater). Engineers who study hydrology include those in agricultural, civil, environmental, hydraulic, irrigation and sanitary engineering.
Scientists and engineers in hydrology may be involved in both field investigations and office work. In the field, they may collect basic data, oversee testing of water quality, direct field crews and work with equipment. Many jobs require travel, some abroad. A hydrologist may spend considerable time doing field work in remote and rugged terrain.
In the office, hydrologists do many things such as interpreting hydrologic data and performing analyses for determining possible water supplies. Much of their work relies on computers for organizing, summarizing and analyzing masses of data, and for modeling studies such as the prediction of flooding and the consequences of reservoir releases or the effect of leaking underground oil storage tanks.
The work if hydrologists is as varied as the uses of water and may range from planning multimillion dollar interstate water projects to advising homeowners about backyard drainage problems.