Faculty member’s new textbook offers multidisciplinary introduction to water resources

clausen-03insertaA new textbook by a faculty member in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment provides a practical introduction to the study of water resources for students from a wide range of disciplines.

Water is a finite resource essential to all life on earth. The study of water resources and how best to manage them requires a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating principles of physics, chemistry, biology and math as well as social sciences such as economics and law.

Professor John Clausen has written Introduction to Water Resources, in which he introduces and explains fundamental concepts related to water quantity and water quality that form the basis for understanding the hydrologic cycle and the physical, chemical and biological principles that determine water quality. Part I of the book addresses water quantity, Part II addresses water quality and Part III, Water and Society, discusses issues related to law, policy and economics.

Increasingly, students come to the study of water from diverse backgrounds and points of view as they prepare for careers in engineering, agriculture, marine science, environmental conservation, law, regulation, public policy and a host of other fields.

Clausen wrote his book because most water resources texts focused on either water quantity or water quality, giving only scant treatment to the other, and, as he writes in the book’s introduction, “greater integration of water quantity and water quality is required to solve many of the real-world water resources problems.” Problems at the end of most chapters provide students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in real-world scenarios, and online resources offer additional in-depth exercises.

Says Clausen, “My goal was to provide a text that could be used in one semester while focusing on fundamental principles rather than numerous case studies. I believe that if students properly learn the fundamentals, they can apply that knowledge to just about any situation they will face in the future.”

Clausen has conducted numerous research projects related to nonpoint source water pollution, specifically on riparian zone restoration and analysis of the effectiveness of various best management practices. He is currently working on a project funded by USDA to develop the use of DNA in identifying the source of bacterial contaminants in waterways. In addition to his research as a faculty member, Clausen worked early in his career as a hydrologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He teaches several undergraduate and graduate courses related to wetlands biology and conservation, natural resources measurement, watershed modeling, water quality and nonpoint source pollution.

“Dr. Clausen is a multiple award-winning college instructor and has been a revered mentor to hundreds of students during his tenure at UConn,” says Jason Vokoun, associate professor and interim head of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. “This book represents a lasting contribution to that legacy. True to his nature and character, this book is wonderfully straight ahead in approach with a focus on the fundamentals, and it’s shockingly affordable in this era of inflationary textbook prices.”

Introduction to Water Resources, published by Waveland Press, Inc., is available from Amazon.

By Sara Putnam