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Water 2011, 3(2), 566-575; doi:10.3390/w3020566
Communication

Historical Legacies, Information and Contemporary Water Science and Management

1,* , 2
, 3,4
, 5
 and 3
1 Department of Geology and Planetary Science, University of Pittsburgh, 200 SRCC, 4107 O’Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA 2 Department of Geography, East Carolina University, A-240 Brewster Bldg., Greenville, NC 27858, USA 3 CUNY Environmental Cross-Roads Initiative, The City College of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA 4 Center for the Environment, MSC 63, Plymouth State University, 17 High Street, Plymouth, NH 03264, USA 5 US Geological Survey, California Water Science Center Placer Hall 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95810, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 March 2011 / Revised: 30 March 2011 / Accepted: 27 April 2011 / Published: 12 May 2011
Download PDF [159 KB, 13 May 2011; original version 12 May 2011]

Abstract

Hydrologic science has largely built its understanding of the hydrologic cycle using contemporary data sources (i.e., last 100 years). However, as we try to meet water demand over the next 100 years at scales from local to global, we need to expand our scope and embrace other data that address human activities and the alteration of hydrologic systems. For example, the accumulation of human impacts on water systems requires exploration of incompletely documented eras. When examining these historical periods, basic questions relevant to modern systems arise: (1) How is better information incorporated into water management strategies? (2) Does any point in the past (e.g., colonial/pre-European conditions in North America) provide a suitable restoration target? and (3) How can understanding legacies improve our ability to plan for future conditions? Beginning to answer these questions indicates the vital need to incorporate disparate data and less accepted methods to meet looming water management challenges.
Keywords: retrospective assessment; detection; attribution; hydrologic history retrospective assessment; detection; attribution; hydrologic history
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Bain, D.J.; Arrigo, J.A.S.; Green, M.B.; Pellerin, B.A.; Vörösmarty, C.J. Historical Legacies, Information and Contemporary Water Science and Management. Water 2011, 3, 566-575.

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