Environmental Hydrology, Third Edition: 3rd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Environmental Hydrology, Third Edition

By Andy D. Ward, Stanley W. Trimble, Suzette R. Burckhard, John G. Lyon

© 2015 – CRC Press

663 pages | 452 B/W Illus.

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About the Book

The late Professor Reds Wolman in his Foreword to the award-winning second edition said, "This is not your ordinary textbook. Environmental Hydrology is indeed a textbook, but five elements often found separately combine here in one text to make it different. It is eclectic, practical, in places a handbook, a guide to fieldwork, engagingly personal and occasionally opinionated. … and, perhaps most engaging to me, in places the authors offer personal views as well as more strongly worded opinions. The former often relate to evaluation of alternative approaches, or formulations, of specific solutions to specific hydrologic problems."

The first and second editions were bestsellers and the third promises to educate people new to the field of hydrology and challenge professionals alike, with insightful solutions to classical problems as well as trendsetting approaches important to the evolving genre. The third edition enhances materials in the second edition and has expanded information on many topics, in particular, evapotranspiration, soil erosion, two-stage ditch design and applications, and stream processes.

What’s New in the Third Edition:

  • Presents new sections on rock structures in streams, hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, and agricultural practices to reduce nutrient discharges into water resources
  • Enhances the format to aid the reader in finding tables, figures, and equations
  • Contains more than 370 figures, 120 tables, 260 equations, 100 worked examples, 160 problems, and more than 1000 references

Collectively, the authors have more than 130 years of international experience and the addition of John Lyon and Suzette Burckhard as co-authors expands the breadth of knowledge presented in this book. More than 60 scientists and engineers in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States provided assistance to round out the offerings and ensure applicability to hydrology worldwide.


"Environmental Hydrology provides a helpful introduction to some of the key processes and issues surrounding contemporary hydrology, from the description of the main components of the hydrological cycle, to human impacts and the application of remote sensing and GIS. A dedicated chapter at the end of the book that contains practical exercises provides readers with the opportunity to test their understanding of the book’s content."

—Dr Simon Gosling, School of Geography, University of Nottingham, UK

"This is an updated edition (2nd ed., 2004; 1st ed., 1995) of a comprehensive introductory hydrology textbook. At over 600 pages, it covers a lot of territory. This is perhaps appropriate for a subject as broad as the water molecule, but the text’s sheer size might be daunting to some. The presentation and mathematical explanations are clear, and there are quite a few worked examples and end-of-chapter problems which are logically posed. The volume takes a more broad-scale look at hydrological science than comparable works, such as S. L. Dingman's Physical Hydrology (3rd ed., 2014). Some derivations appear slightly more general than in Dingman's text, for example, in the presentation of the Penman-Monteith equation, but Ward (Ohio State) and coauthors then add pertinent material from diverse specialties. This is appropriate as hydrology can be seen as a major interdisciplinary factor linking many branches of earth and environmental science. Chapters on the fundamental physical processes behind the basic water balance equation are followed by relatively in-depth discussions of hydrological analysis as applied, for example, to specific ecosystems such as forests and high latitude regions. Next, the authors provide substantial material on such varied topics as sedimentation, human impacts, geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing as they are applied to hydrology."

CHOICE, May 2016

"Unlike many other hydrology textbooks, the authors of Environmental Hydrology make an exceptional effort of emphasize water in soil, agricultural soil and land management, and even the use of soil surveys in several of the chapters while integrating classical hydrology concepts."

Soil Science Society of America Journal, April 2016

"Environmental Hydrology is full of useful information presented in both written and visual formats. Even in black and white, photos and figures are helpful in conveying important points to the reader. The book is packed with examples and problems drawn from the authors’ professional experiences as practicing engineers and hydrologists. From an educator’s perspective, the book has a nice balance between examples and problems that are straight-forward in their solution and those that require the student to make assumptions and exercise sound professional judgment, as in many "real-world" cases where not all of the inputs are given or known."

Groundwater, September-October 2016

Table of Contents

The Hydrologic Cycle, Water Resources, and Society

The Water, Food, Industry, Population Growth Nexus

The Hydrologic Cycle

Water Resources in the United States

The Importance of Hydrology to Society

Modeling the Hydrologic Cycle

Hydrologic Data Analysis

Advantages and Disadvantages of Modeling Data

Typical Model Architecture




Causes of Precipitation

Precipitation Events

Measurement of Precipitation

Storm Time Trends

Average Precipitation over an Area

Rainfall Frequency Distributions

Probability of an Event Occurring

Rainfall Erosivity

Climate Change and Uncertainty


Infiltration and Soil Water Processes


Soil Water Relationships

Infiltration and Soil Water Retention

Factors Affecting Water Movement into and through Soils

Soil Water Balance

Estimating Infiltration Rates

Perspective on Infiltration Methods

Measurement of Soil Properties


Soil Moisture and Evapotranspiration


Evaporation Process

Evapotranspiration From Soil and Plants

Measuring Evaporation or Evapotranspiration

Weather Data Sources and Preparation

Estimating Evaporation and Evapotranspiration

Advances in Estimating Crop Evapotranspiration

Evapotranspiration and Soil Water Budgets in Space and Time

Using Evapotranspiration Data and Management Strategies


Runoff and Drainage


Factors Affecting Runoff Processes

Watershed Factors that Affect Runoff

Runoff Characteristics: The Hydrograph

Predicting Volume of Stormflow and Total Runoff

Prediction of Peak Runoff Rate

Stormwater Hydrographs

Assessment and Application of Flood Estimation Techniques

Agricultural Land Drainage Modifications

Determining Subsurface Drainage Flows

Flow Duration and Water Yield

Planning for Low Flow Water Shortages

Runoff Characteristics–Pollutograph


Stream Processes


Interaction of Streams with the Landscape

Stream Orders

Stream Biota

Stream Characteristics

Stream Stability and Sediment Transport

Meander Migration, Floodplains, and Streamways

Stream Classification

Channel Evolution

What to Measure and Why the Measurement Should Be Made

Some Other Important Factors

Stream Restoration


Uniform Open Channel Flow


Flow Velocity and Discharge

Grassed Waterways

Compound Channels

Two-Stage Agricultural Ditches and Canals

Other Compound Channel Applications

Modifying, Managing, and Enhancing Constructed Channel


Hydraulic Control Structures


Specific Energy and Critical Discharge

Riffles, Pools and Runs (Based on Newbury et al, 2011 with permission from the

American Geophysical Union)

Weirs, Flumes, and Culverts

Backwater Analysis

Rock Structures

Sizing Rock

Routing flows through Channels and Rivers

Routing flow through Reservoirs


Soil Conservation and Sediment Budgets


Factors Affecting Erosion by Water

Types of Erosion

Estimating Soil Loss and Soil Loss Tolerance

Universal Soil Loss Equation

Nonagricultural Applications of the USLE

Downstream Sediment Yields

Single-Event Sediment Yields

Sediment Budget Concepts

Sediment Storage in Large Reservoirs

Problems (Note: The first 7 problems relate to Equation 9.1)

Hydrology of Forests, Wetlands, and Cold Climates


How are Forests Different?

Forest Climates: Rain and Snow

Interception: Rain, Snow, and Fog

Energy Balance in Forests




Subsurface Flow (Interflow)

Surface Runoff

Streamflow and Watershed Hydrology

Erosion: Sediment Budget

Deforestation, Fires, and Silviculture

Rangelands and Grazing





Characterization of Groundwater Flow

Groundwater Flow Patterns and Stream Interaction

Flow to Wells

Capture Zones of Wells

Fracture Flow

Groundwater Vulnerability


Human Impacts on Water Resources: Prevention and Treatment Strategies


Human Impacts on Stream Health

Flood Forecasting and Management

Urban Impacts

Conundrum of Understanding Discharge Frequency

Reducing Runoff from Urban Areas

Detention and Retention Ponds

Agricultural Impacts on Water Quality

Agricultural Water Quality Best Management Practices



Fundamentals of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems for Hydrologic




Parts of the Spectrum and Radiation Characteristics

Data Types and Databases

Remote Sensing Characteristics of Water


Practical Exercises on Conducting and Reporting Hydrologic Studies


Conducting a Hydrologic Study

Reporting a Hydrologic Study

Report Contents

General Guidelines for Preparing Exercise Reports

Exercise 14.1: Precipitation (See Theory in Chapter 2)

Exercise 14.2: Evaporation (See Theory in Chapter 4)

Exercise 14.3: Runoff (See Theory in Chapter 5)

Exercise 14.4: Flow Duration (See Theory in Chapter 5)

Exercise 14.5: Storm Runoff, Totals, and Peaks (See Theory in Chapter 5)

Exercise 14.6: Erosion and Elementary Sediment Routing (See Theory in Chapter 9)

Exercise 14.7: Streamflow Measurement in the Field (See Theory in Chapter 7)

Exercise 14.8: Watershed or Drainage Basin Morphology (See Theory in 6)

Exercise 14.9: The Practical use of Soil Surveys for Environmental Management

The Practical use of Soils Maps for Management




About the Authors

Andy D. Ward, Ph.D, is a professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University and has been a member of the faculty since 1986. In 1971, he obtained a B.Sc. in civil engineering from Imperial College, London, England. In 1977 and 1981, Dr. Ward obtained an M.S. and Ph.D. respectively in agricultural engineering from the University of Kentucky. He has authored more than 100 manuscripts and co-authored a paper that received the 1994 Autometric Award from the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing for the best interpretation of remote sensing data.

Stanley W. Trimble, Ph.D, is professor emeritus in the Department of Geography at UCLA and has been a member of the faculty since 1975. In 1963, he received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of North Alabama. He earned his M.A. (1970) and Ph.D. (1973) in geography at the University of Georgia. Dr .Trimble was a research hydrologist with the US Geological Survey from 1973-84, and a visiting professor at the Universities of Chicago (1978, 1981, 1990), Vienna (1994, 1999), Oxford (1995), London (University College, 1985), and Durham (1998). He has published more than 100 research publications.

Suzette R. Burckhard, PhD, PE is a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering at South Dakota State University (SDSU), Brookings. She has been on the faculty since 1997. Dr. Burckhard earned a BS in engineering physics and civil engineering from SDSU. She also attended Kansas State University, earning an MS in physics, an MS in chemical engineering, and a PhD in civil engineering while there. She has over 100 presentations and publications including coauthoring the 3rd place ESRI Award for Best Scientific Paper in Geographic Information Systems in 2008.

John G. Lyon has conducted scientific and engineering research and administrative functions throughout his career. He is formerly the senior physical scientist in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and Office of the Science Advisor in Washington, DC, where he co-led work on the Group on Earth Observations and the USGEO subcommittee of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, and research on geospatial issues. Lyon was director of ORD’s Environmental Sciences Division for approximately eight years. He was educated at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply