Water is the baseline for life on Earth. However, 96% of water on earth lies in our oceans and is (for the most part) off limits or unusable for human development. All of the water on Earth, only about 2% is fresh water and of that amount, a mere fraction is useable. Water content in the atmosphere and within living organisms contribute minimally to the fresh water present on Earth. Primary water sources used for human consumption are groundwater, lakes, and rivers. Hydrology primarily focuses on freshwater sources.
Here in Oregon, we primarily rely on surface water (from human made reservoirs) and groundwater. There are many variables as to how to regulate these sources. One must ask: How much water is needed for a certain number of people? What volume of water must a reservoir contain to support these people? How much groundwater is needed? What infrastructure must be built to efficiently supply this water? Water quality and reservoir placement are also important to consider.
Apart from sources of drinking water, floods and drought are important to consider. Flood volumes vary depending on how much water a stream usually carries. Also, conditions that constitute “drought” depend on how much rain typically falls on a certain area. We will create hydrographs for floods and monitor droughts.