Floods and Droughts: the New Zealand Experience.cover

M Paul Mosley & Charles P Pearson (Editors).

Published 1997.

ISBN 0-473-04735-7

206 pages

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Floods and Droughts

The standard image of New Zealand is one of peaceful green pastures and sunny country towns. However, the New Zealand experience can be very different. Floods and droughts can affect virtually all parts of the country, from Northland down to Invercargill, in any year. 

"Floods and Droughts: the New Zealand experience" aims to summarize the wealth of observation and analysis of floods and droughts in New Zealand. Chapters are contributed by 20 hydrological scientists and water resource professionals, who have worked on many different aspects of floods and droughts. Some chapters present observations of historically significant floods and droughts, and review different approaches to their analysis. Others consider the cause-and-effect relationships between fllods and droughts, land use changes, instream uses such as ecosystem maintenance, erosion and sedimentation processes, and the behaviour of groundwater resources. A final pair of chapters focuses on approaches to management of floods and droughts that are being developed in this country., and discuss four specific case studies. The book aims to be a reference text for water scientists, engineers and resource managers whose work requires them to better understand and to manage floods and droughts. It is intended, too, as a source for senior undergraduate and postgraduate university students in engineering, resource management, geography, and related disciplines. While presenting the experiences of practitioners in New Zealand, the book is intended to have value to water professionals in many other countries.


What others think

The book deals with multiple facets of extreme hydrological events. It covers a whole spectrum of problems related to floods and droughts, including lesser known aspects that seldom find their way into similar monographs. There is ample discussion of the climatic and meteorological conditions responsible for extreme events. An anatomy of case-studies of floods and droughts is presented and a sound statistical approach to drought- and flood frequency analysis is offered. The issues of managing extreme events, sustainable management of natural and physical resources, risk management and legislation are also dealt with. Environmental effects of extreme high/low flows, their impacts on flora and fauna, including recolonisation and ecosystem recovery after an extreme hydrological event, are included. Furthermore there is a discussion of the influence of extreme hydrological events on erosion and sedimentation. Climate-change impacts are also discussed. So are ground-/surface water interactions in the context of extreme hydrological events. Among other topics tackled are problems of data and observation networks, experimental catchments studies and regionalisation.

This book is a fine example of a monograph on floods and droughts, which continue to afflict many countries of the world. It gives factual information about the region and can be seen as a welcome contribution to the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, encouraging countries to increase their awareness of natural disasters, assess risk, and improve preparedness. The editors and all contributors to individual chapters are to be commended for their product. The book will surely attract the interest of a broad international readership.

Abridged from a review by Z W Kundzewicz in World Meteorological Organization Bulletin 48 (1) January 1999.



Section 1: Introduction
Mosley, M.P; Pearson, C.P. Introduction: hydrological extremes and climate in New Zealand. p 1-14.
Ibbitt, R.; Woods, R.; McKerchar, A. Hydrological processes of extreme events. p15-28.
Waugh, J.; Freestone, H.;Lew, D. Historic floods and droughts in New Zealand. p29-50.

Section 2: Analysis and Estimation of Extreme Events

McKerchar, A.; Ibbitt, R.; Woods, R. Analysis and estimation of extreme events: deterministic methods. p51-63
Pearson, C.; Davies, T. Stochastic methods. p65-87.
Rowe, L.; Fahey, B.; Jackson, R.; Duncan, M. Effects of land use on floods and low flows. p89-102.
Jowett, I. Environmental effects of extreme flows. p103-116.
Hicks, M.; Davies, T. Erosion and sedimentation in extreme events. p 117-141.
White, P. Hydrologic extremes and the groundwater system. p143-157.

Section 3: Management
Griffiths, G.; Ross, P. Principles of managing extreme events. p159-186.
Fenemor, A. Floods and droughts: case studies. p187-201.


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