Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi

Thumbnail Image
Penman, H.L.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Among the earth sciences, hydrology is far behind the others in the evolution of a set of first principles. Too much of the text-book material is expressed in statistical relations unsupported by scientific reasons, and, as Dr. Pereira implies at the end of his introduction, the conclusions drawn from the relations are frequently no more than opinions. These opinions are usually quite sound in their own context, but some of the attempts to extrapolate them to other environments have failed because elementary principles in meteorology, plant growth or soil science were unknown or ignored. Perhaps because of these failures there is a strong philosophy of despair among attitudes toward catchment hydrology, expressed in the belief that every catchment is unique and its problems must be solved on the spot, without importation of experience from outside, and with no hope of being able to export any newly acquired experience. Fortunately, this attitude is not universal, and the preceding papers provide a refreshing demonstration that hydrology can be treated as a science without in any way arresting progress toward the solutions of the practical problems that inspired the experiments.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, XXVII (Specials Issue), pp. 127-128