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An introduction to our most precious natural resource.
In this engaging book, hydrologist Peter E. Black celebrates the wonder of our planet’s most precious natural resource. In these brief, nontechnical essays, readers are introduced to water’s unique scientific properties, the vital role it plays in Earth’s ecology and ecosystems, and the impact it has had on human history, culture, art, law, and economics. At turns educational and inspirational, humorous and reverent, the book also sounds a cautionary note: water is abundant, but it is also scarce. Only three percent of the earth’s water is fresh, and only a small percentage of that fresh water is available for human use and consumption. Therefore, it must be managed carefully, and understood, lest we find ourselves with too little, too late.
“Peter Black, in Water Drops, has provided us a much-needed guide to understanding water and water issues. He has put to paper his more than forty years of experience in the field of water management and given us his perceptive insights. If every other day a family that is sitting down to dinner would read one of his essays and spend a few minutes at the table discussing its implication in their lives, over the course of a year we would produce individuals and family units that recognize and are motivated to do something about our water challenges.” — from the Foreword by Gerald E. Galloway, University of Maryland
“Informative and even entertaining, Water Drops is an encyclopedic look at water in its various manifestations … It is a celebration of water, the elixir of all life.” — d-sector.org
“…easily accessible to anyone who wishes to learn more about the science of hydrology.” — CHOICE
“Originally written as ninety-second NPR radio broadcasts, these essays drip, drip, drip a litany of fascinating facts and endearments … Informative and entertaining, Water Drops will motivate people into furthering their knowledge of this invaluable substance.” — ForeWord Reviews
“An encyclopedic look at water resources, told by a master storyteller. Water Drops is a must read for all interested in water, the environment, and natural resources.” — Michael J. Kowalski, Director of Operations, American Water Resources Association
“Two of my favorite water drops are ‘Black Ice’ and ‘Center Pivot Irrigation.’ As a reporter for many years, I often covered the multicar pileups blamed on black ice—Peter explained what made this ice, unlike other ice, so invisible and therefore much more treacherous. And ‘Center Pivot Irrigation’ is the story behind a man-made ‘wonder of water’ that is visible from 35,000 feet. The joy and enthusiasm of the author comes through in every segment.” — David E. White, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Peter E. Black is Distinguished Teaching Professor of Water and Related Land Resources, Emeritus, at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. His previous books include Watershed Hydrology, Second Edition (with Brian L. Fisher) and Conservation of Water and Related Land Resources, Third Edition. He lives in Syracuse, New York.
Table of Contents
Preface Acknowledgments Foreword Introduction
Water on Earth Ocean Biodiversity Gaia Tipping Point CO2, O2, and H2O Unusual Circulation Water and Energy Water Vapor Evapotranspiration Acid Rain Studies of Water Measuring Water More Water Measurements Hydraulics Wonder Water Storage Hydropedology Fertilizer in the Rain Plants and Water Invasive Species Mosses and Water Water and Trees Interception and Energy Interception Amount Soil Storage Frost in Soil Measuring Soil Moisture Wetlands Flushing Backyard Ponds
2. Culture and History
Water in Culture Water Is … The Word Water Gods and Goddesses Maxims Nursery Rhymes Jack and Jill
3. Weather and Climate
Umbrella? Chance (1): Rain Full Moon Humidity Clouds Fog Raindrops Measuring Precipitation Measuring Snow Ice Precipitation Black Ice Morning Ice Crystals Bad Weather Storm Types Storm Types (Again) Cyclonic Storms Convectional Storms Orographic Storms Lake Effect Hurricanes and Tornados Drought Meteorological Drought Agricultural Drought Hydrological Drought Climate Change Terminology Canary Our Greenhouse Global Warming
Hydrology Hydrology (Second Definition) Annual Hydrograph Hydrological Seasons Happy New Year Season of Soil Moisture Recharge Season of Maximum Runoff Season of Maximum Evapotranspiration Arid Zone Hydrology Deserts Tropical Hydrology Runoff Measuring Runoff Groundwater Runoff Stormwater Runoff Storm Hydrograph
Storm Flow Stormwater Runoff Quality Floods Infiltration Chance (2): Floods More Flooding Floodplains Flood Insurance Three Rivers, Three Floods
5. Economics, Management, and Policy
Using Water Water in the World Storage Resource Buffers Watersheds Water Balance Watershed Research Watershed Functions Wetland Watersheds Watershed Planning Watershed Management Objectives of Watershed Management Municipal Water Supplies Forested Water Supplies Woods and Water Quantity, Quality, and Regimen Measuring Water Quality Water Quality Laws Drinking Water Water Meters Pricing Water Bottled Water Hot Shower Garbage Disposals Waste Treatment TMDLs Best Management Practices Point/Nonpoint Pollution Permits Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations Mining Navigation Fighting Fire Dams Policy on Dams Removing Dams Water Project Economics Conservation Center Pivot Irrigation
6. Government, Law, and Organizations
Organizations Federal Organizations Land Managing Agencies Politics Bureau of Land Management Forest Service National Park Service Fish and Wildlife Service Corps of Engineers Bureau of Reclamation Natural Resources Conservation Service Tennessee Valley Authority Environment Protection Agency Geological Survey NOAA (and NWS) Districts Interstate Water Law Native American Water Rights Advisory Committees Partnerships Professional Organizations Water Law Water and Laws Watershed Initiatives Five Forested Watersheds Great Lakes River Basin Commissions Mississippi River Colorado River Closing
Glossary (and Occasional Symbols) Water Trivia Notes, References, and Additional Reading Index