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This fact sheet presents and explains some common concepts in hydrology and the hydrologic cycle. The science or study of hydrology focuses on the distribution, occurrence, circulation, and properties of water in the environment. At its most basic level, hydrology is often defined as the study of water; however, basic concepts in hydrology quickly become complex as they are applied to real-world systems to understand and predict what is occurring. This fact sheet summarizes these complex relationships and highlights important applications of hydrologic concepts in agroecosystems, including conservation of soil water in the vadose zone1 to support crop production and water quality.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
November 9, 2015