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Research Project: Ecohydrological Processes, Scale, Climate Variability, and Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Arid Zone Hydrology

Author
item Goodrich, David - Dave

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2016
Publication Date: 1/1/2017
Citation: Goodrich, D.C. 2017. Arid zone hydrology. In: Vijay P. Singh, editor. Handbook of Applied Hydrology. Second edition. New York, NY:McGraw-Hill Education. p. 88-1 to 88-7.

Interpretive Summary: Arid zone hydrology encompasses a wide range of topics and hydro-meteorological and ecological characteristics. Although arid and semi-arid watersheds perform the same functions as those in humid environments, their hydrology and sediment transport characteristics cannot be readily predicted by inference and extrapolation from wetter regions. In many instances they are characterized by a much higher degree of spatial and temporal variability. For example, the variability of mean annual runoff of North American arid lands is roughly double that for the continental area as a whole. A comprehensive review of these topics is not possible in this limited handbook-level treatise. Instead, an attempt is made to review general characteristics of arid zone hydrology via components of the water balance and to discuss several more recent findings that have altered our understanding of the eco-hydrology of these regions since publication of the first edition of the Handbook of Applied Hydrology. With over two billion people inhabiting the drylands of the world it will be essential to increase our understanding of the hydrology of these regions. More effective management of water resources of these regions will be required not only to maintain food production and water for human consumption but also for critical ecosystem services. Urbanization results in potential recharge from additional storm water runoff that would otherwise evaporate or transpire if the storm precipitation infiltrated into upland soils. This “new” manageable water can be utilized directly or used for groundwater recharge. Green infrastructure and rainfall harvesting are additional strategies to improve the use and management of water in arid and semiarid areas.

Technical Abstract: Arid zone hydrology encompasses a wide range of topics and hydro-meteorological and ecological characteristics. Although arid and semi-arid watersheds perform the same functions as those in humid environments, their hydrology and sediment transport characteristics cannot be readily predicted by inference and extrapolation from wetter regions. In many instances they are characterized by a much higher degree of spatial and temporal variability. For example, the variability of mean annual runoff of North American arid lands is roughly double that for the continental area as a whole. A comprehensive review of these topics is not possible in this limited handbook-level treatise. Instead, an attempt is made to review general characteristics of arid zone hydrology via components of the water balance and to discuss several more recent findings that have altered our understanding of the eco-hydrology of these regions since publication of the first edition of the Handbook of Applied Hydrology. With over two billion people inhabiting the drylands of the world it will be essential to increase our understanding of the hydrology of these regions. More effective management of water resources of these regions will be required not only to maintain food production and water for human consumption but also for critical ecosystem services. Urbanization results in potential recharge from additional storm water runoff that would otherwise evaporate or transpire if the storm precipitation infiltrated into upland soils. This “new” manageable water can be utilized directly or used for groundwater recharge. Green infrastructure and rainfall harvesting are additional strategies to improve the use and management of water in arid and semiarid areas.