Water Drops

Celebrating the Wonder of Water

By Peter E. Black

Subjects: Environmental Studies, Ecology
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438444864, 211 pages, August 2012
Hardcover : 9781438444871, 211 pages, August 2012

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

1. Science
Water on Earth
Tipping Point
CO2, O2, and H2O
Water and Energy
Water Vapor
Acid Rain
Studies of Water
Measuring Water
More Water Measurements
Water Storage
Fertilizer in the Rain
Plants and Water
Invasive Species
Mosses and Water
Water and Trees
Interception and Energy
Interception Amount
Soil Storage
Frost in Soil
Measuring Soil Moisture
Backyard Ponds
2. Culture and History
Water in Culture
Water Is …
The Word Water
Gods and Goddesses
Nursery Rhymes
Jack and Jill

3. Weather and Climate
Chance (1): Rain
Full Moon
Measuring Precipitation
Measuring Snow
Ice Precipitation
Black Ice
Morning Ice Crystals
Bad Weather
Storm Types
Storm Types (Again)
Cyclonic Storms
Convectional Storms
Orographic Storms
Lake Effect
Hurricanes and Tornados
Meteorological Drought
Agricultural Drought
Hydrological Drought
Climate Change Terminology
Our Greenhouse
Global Warming
4. Hydrology
Hydrology (Second Definition)
Annual Hydrograph
Hydrological Seasons
Happy New Year
Season of Soil Moisture Recharge
Season of Maximum Runoff
Season of Maximum Evapotranspiration
Arid Zone Hydrology
Tropical Hydrology
Measuring Runoff
Groundwater Runoff
Stormwater Runoff
Storm Hydrograph

Storm Flow
Stormwater Runoff Quality
Chance (2): Floods
More Flooding
Flood Insurance
Three Rivers, Three Floods
5. Economics, Management, and Policy
Using Water
Water in the World
Resource Buffers
Water Balance
Watershed Research
Watershed Functions
Wetland Watersheds
Watershed Planning
Watershed Management
Objectives of Watershed Management
Municipal Water Supplies
Forested Water Supplies
Woods and Water
Quantity, Quality, and Regimen
Measuring Water Quality
Water Quality Laws
Drinking Water
Water Meters
Pricing Water
Bottled Water
Hot Shower
Garbage Disposals
Waste Treatment
Best Management Practices
Point/Nonpoint Pollution
Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations
Fighting Fire
Policy on Dams
Removing Dams
Water Project Economics
Center Pivot Irrigation
6. Government, Law, and Organizations
Federal Organizations
Land Managing Agencies
Bureau of Land Management
Forest Service
National Park Service
Fish and Wildlife Service
Corps of Engineers
Bureau of Reclamation
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Tennessee Valley Authority
Environment Protection Agency
Geological Survey
NOAA (and NWS)
Interstate Water Law
Native American Water Rights
Advisory Committees
Professional Organizations
Water Law
Water and Laws
Watershed Initiatives
Five Forested Watersheds
Great Lakes
River Basin Commissions
Mississippi River
Colorado River
Glossary (and Occasional Symbols)
Water Trivia
Notes, References, and Additional Reading

An introduction to our most precious natural resource.


In this engaging book, hydrologist Peter E. Black celebrates the wonder of our planet's most precious natural resource. In these brief, nontechnical essays, readers are introduced to water's unique scientific properties, the vital role it plays in Earth's ecology and ecosystems, and the impact it has had on human history, culture, art, law, and economics. At turns educational and inspirational, humorous and reverent, the book also sounds a cautionary note: water is abundant, but it is also scarce. Only three percent of the earth's water is fresh, and only a small percentage of that fresh water is available for human use and consumption. Therefore, it must be managed carefully, and understood, lest we find ourselves with too little, too late.

Peter E. Black is Distinguished Teaching Professor of Water and Related Land Resources, Emeritus, at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. His previous books include Watershed Hydrology, Second Edition (with Brian L. Fisher) and Conservation of Water and Related Land Resources, Third Edition. He lives in Syracuse, New York.


"Informative and even entertaining, Water Drops is an encyclopedic look at water in its various manifestations … It is a celebration of water, the elixir of all life." — d-sector.org

"Peter Black, in Water Drops, has provided us a much-needed guide to understanding water and water issues. He has put to paper his more than forty years of experience in the field of water management and given us his perceptive insights. If every other day a family that is sitting down to dinner would read one of his essays and spend a few minutes at the table discussing its implication in their lives, over the course of a year we would produce individuals and family units that recognize and are motivated to do something about our water challenges." — from the Foreword by Gerald E. Galloway, University of Maryland

"…easily accessible to anyone who wishes to learn more about the science of hydrology." — CHOICE

"Originally written as ninety-second NPR radio broadcasts, these essays drip, drip, drip a litany of fascinating facts and endearments … Informative and entertaining, Water Drops will motivate people into furthering their knowledge of this invaluable substance." — ForeWord Reviews

"An encyclopedic look at water resources, told by a master storyteller. Water Drops is a must read for all interested in water, the environment, and natural resources." — Michael J. Kowalski, Director of Operations, American Water Resources Association

"Two of my favorite water drops are 'Black Ice' and 'Center Pivot Irrigation.' As a reporter for many years, I often covered the multicar pileups blamed on black ice—Peter explained what made this ice, unlike other ice, so invisible and therefore much more treacherous. And 'Center Pivot Irrigation' is the story behind a man-made 'wonder of water' that is visible from 35,000 feet. The joy and enthusiasm of the author comes through in every segment." — David E. White, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry