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By Malin Falkenmark, Tom Chapman

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Extra resources for Comparative Hydrology: An Ecological Approach to Land and Water Resources

Sample text

It still causes confusion, for instance, when pumping tests indicate good local “yield” in contradiction to hydrological commonsense, based on estimates of possible groundwater recharge from water balance considerations. Hydrology and land conservation/management. Land management is generally water dependent in the sense that a certain type of activity may need water supply. g. high water-tables, poor aquifers, or the presence of disease vectors due to humidity. Agricultural yield depends heavily on an adequate amount of water being present in the root zone.

As already mentioned, the natural environment provides man with water, food, fuelwood, energy and minerals. 9). Different types of natural constraints, which cause problems for societal development (water-logging, dry soils, obstructing vegetation etc) have to be overcome or compensated. To get water, man constructs water schemes and projects for storage, water supply and irrigation. To get energy man develops electric power from water, or fossil or nuclear fuels. As all measures related to soil, vegetation and hydrology involve interventions with complex natural systems, feedbacks are bound to develop as responses.

Such processes are all fundamental for the understanding of soil productivity, land degradation risks, the effects of drought etc. Indeed, the successful future of low-latitude countries lies in successful development of control over this interaction system. The soil zone with its cover of vegetation in fact constitutes a key zone of the hydrologic cycle. A large part of the precipitation passes through the short branch of the cycle with a turnover time (see Chapter 2) generally of the order of days, and then returns to the atmosphere at approximately the same location.

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