Putting It Together: Hydrology


The hydrologic cycle is anything but a simple straight forward loop. As you saw in the lesson, it is a very complex and ever changing dynamic. In this section you learned:

  1. What the hydrologic cycle is and the various steps within the cycle
  2. How important the hydrologic cycle is to life on earth
  3. About streams and stream loads
  4. What an aquifer is and the various types of aquifers
  5. Why permeability and porosity are an important component of aquifers
  6. The issues associated with groundwater withdrawal
  7. The various types of features groundwater can produce


In the opening of this section, we discussed the Ogallala Aquifer. Now that we understand more about hydrology in general, we know that even though we may not live in one of the states overlying the Ogallala we will all be affected by its continued depletion. Not only will those states suffer from not enough drinking water or water for irrigation, but the rest of the country will suffer as well. We will see an increase in prices of goods as farmers have to adapt to using crops that require less water. We will see a decline in certain crops and livestock production. This could make some products very scarce. Not only this but we will also need to figure out a way to get water to these deprived areas, exactly as California is having to do today.

We also talked about the flooding in the Midwest. Do you now see any advantages of flooding? Floods, like fires, are a normal and natural part of the Earth’s cycles. They become an issue when humans are involved. One of the advantages of the flooding in the Midwest is that the flood water will in fact help recharge the Ogallala Aquifer. This is a good example of how the Earth maintains a balance. The question for us is how to best adapt and manage this balance.


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