In order to use this precious resource wisely, we need to understand where it is, how it moves, and how our actions affect water quantity and quality. Hydrology is the science that can answer these questions and is broadly grouped into three major areas.
Surface Water: Many municipalities rely upon surface water — streams, rivers, and reservoirs — for their potable (drinking) water. Surface water hydrology is the study of streams, rivers, and reservoirs and their interplay with the local weather, climate, and groundwater. There are many grassroots organizations interested in maintaining the health of their local watershed — the area that supplies these sources. Two of our faculty are members of local organizations, and one is the group president. At BU, you will get an abundance of hands-on experience studying our local streams, and if you wish, plenty of volunteer opportunities to help clean them up.
Groundwater: Groundwater hydrology is the study of water below our feet. In our region, wells that tap groundwater are a common feature of many homes and farms. They supply drinking water and water for irrigation if rain is scarce in the growing season. In many parts of the U.S., wells are a critical resource for cities and towns that rely on groundwater for their drinking water. At Bloomsburg, you will learn the theory of groundwater, but you will also get field experience with wells we have here on campus.
Water Chemistry: Natural water is never pure — it always has small amounts of dissolved material. These give water its local flavor, and affect how it reacts with piping, machinery, and the human body! At BU, you can learn how to sample and analyze water from local wells, streams, and reservoirs.