Registering hydrologists: An exchange: AIH comment


  • The Executive Committee and Board of Registration of the American Institute of Hydrology


Some members of the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, have taken issue with the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH) for establishing a certification process for professional hydrologists and hydrogeologists without “…involvement of the profession as a whole…” (Eos, April 19, 1983, p. 146). We wish to respond to their concerns by explaining how AIH evolved in response to a widely perceived need.

The need for certification of hydrologists and hydrogeologists has been expressed repeatedly by individuals, consulting firms, and by some state and federal agencies. Individuals expressed their views in professional journals or through the nationwide survey conducted in 1976 in connection with the “State of Education in the Field of Hydrology.” Private consultants, as well, indicated the difficulty with identifying and selecting qualified hydrologists and hydrogeologists. In 1979, an Ad Hoc Committee of the Association of University Watershed Scientists recommended a strengthening of the U.S. Civil Service entry-level requirements for hydrologists (Announcement No. 424, May 1975.) This effort was in response to professionals within the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management who were concerned that the existing standards “did not ensure high-quality entry-level professionals in hydrology.” In 1975 the General Secretary of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) recommended to AWRA that they consider developing a certification process for hydrologists and hydrogeologists, but no action was taken. Similarly, no action was taken by any other existing scientific or professional organization such as AGU, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Agricultural Engineers, National Well Water Association, Geological Society of America, AWRA, etc.