What is Hydrology? Branches

What is Hydrology?

Hydrology is derived from Greek words hydor meaning “water” and logos meaning “study”. It is the science that deals with all aspects of the water available on the earth. It includes study of occurrence of water, its properties, its distribution and circulation and also its effects on the living beings and their surroundings.

A practitioner of hydrology is called a hydrologist. Hydrologists are scientists studying earth or environmental science, civil or environmental engineering and physical geography. Using various analytical methods and scientific techniques, they collect and analyze data to help solve water related problems such as environmental preservation, natural disasters, and water management.

It is subdivides into surface water, Groundwater, and marine hydrology. Domains of hydrology include hydrometeorology, Surface hydrology, Hydrogeology, Drainage-basin management and water quality, where water plays the central role.



  • Assessment of catchment rainfall.
  • Optimum utilization of water resource.
  • Design flood computations for safety of hydraulic structures.
  • Assessment of losses and wastage of water.
  • Calculation of useful life and capacity of reservoirs.
  • Finding sources to improve ground water levels.


  1. Chemical-hydrology: The study of the chemical characteristics of water.
  2. Ecohydrology: It is the study of interactions between organisms and the hydrologic cycle.
  3. Hydrogeology: It is the study of the presence and movement of groundwater.
  4. Hydrogeochemistry: It is the study of how terrestrial water dissolves minerals weathering and this effect on water chemistry.
  5. Hydrometeorology: Study of the transfer of water and energy between land and water body surfaces and the lower atmosphere.