hydrology

The scientific study of the waters of the earth, especially with relation to the effects of precipitation and evaporation upon the occurrence and character of water in streams, lakes, and on or below the land surface. In terms of the hydrologic cycle, the scope of hydrology may be defined as that portion of the cycle from precipitation to evaporation or return of the water to the seas. Applied hydrology utilizes scientific findings to predict rates and amounts of runoff (river forecasting), estimate required spillway and reservoir capacities, study soil-water-plant relationships in agriculture, estimate available water supply, and for other applications necessary to the management of water resources.