Hydrology is the study of water, specifically its movement and distribution in relation to land. Hydrology focuses specifically on the water found on Earth, not other planets (though that is a fascinating study in and of itself). The positioning and movement of water is particularly important to our modern civilization because it dictates where we can build communities and place homes and other buildings.
A hydrologist is a professional practitioner of hydrology. Hydrologists are responsible for locating water in order to determine if the location is suitable for building upon. Hydrologists use a number of methods to locate usable supplies of water. A hydrologist might be employed to check for water in a large, vast, undeveloped area to see if it is suitable for an entire new development, community, commercial complex, or industrial site. They might also be brought in for individual jobs, such as to check if a piece of land can serve as a farm or acreage for one family. Though it is not a field that most people know a lot about, hydrologists play a very crucial role in community development.
How Is Water Located?
Hydrologists often need to use several methods and tests to determine if groundwater is present in a given location. They use geological maps and surveys to look for natural clues that groundwater is present. They look at the types and formations of rocks in the area, and check for plant life that requires a healthy level of groundwater.
Once it is determined that water could be present based on geological clue, a hydrologist will likely use any of a number of tools to verify the presence and quality of groundwater. They may use technological devices to precisely measure the location of the water, the depth of the water, and its suitability for use.
An Evolving Field
The field of hydrology has come a long way over the past several decades. It is now a very precise science. Groundwater can be located and evaluated with a great deal of certainty, thanks to advancements in the science and technology used to support hydrology. It is thanks to these developments that we are able to safely build new communities and business sites without there being a risk of unsafe drinking water, or a complete lack of water. Unfortunately, hydrology practices were not always so precise.
As recently as last century, people often used unreliable and non-scientific methods for locating groundwater. For instance, dowsing was considered to be an acceptable method. Dowsing is a superstitious and unscientific method where a diving rod is used to point to the location of water. Fortunately we have progressed significantly and no longer rely on magic sticks to find water!
For more information on groundwater location, current hydrology techniques, and the services provided by hydrologists, please contact us here at American Water Surveyors today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions, and we’ll leave our divining rods at home.
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Call: 877-SEISMO1 (734-7661) or 817-788-5716