Applied Hydrogeology - fourth edition

By C. W. Fetter. Published by Prentice Hall Inc, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 07458 USA: 2001: ISBN 0-13-088239-69; 262 208 mm: xviii + 598pp: Hardback: 34.99

To be a successful and competent hydrogeologist it is necessary to combine a number of scientific disciplines to build on a foundation of a good geological understanding. In this book Charles Fetter sets out to provide information on these scientific disciplines and analytical methods. True to its title, the book has a practical flavour throughout, with the first chapter including a description of what hydrogeologists actually do for a living and suggesting a code of ethics that covers their relationship to their employers, clients and the public in general.

The book follows a logical order to explain topics that is adopted by many other groundwater textbooks. Starting with the hydrological cycle and aquifer properties and working through the principles of groundwater flow and then the flow to wells. There are chapters on recharge and regional groundwater flow followed by five new case histories that illustrate the earlier subjects. Succeeding chapters cover water chemistry, groundwater contamination, groundwater development and management, an introduction to field methods such as geophysical techniques and the use of remote sensing data, and groundwater modelling.

The practical aspect of the book does not extend to a detailed explanation of the basic field methods such as measuring water levels and stream flows, although guidance is provided on planning pumping tests and organizing a fieldwork programme.

The author has provided a great deal of help for the reader in the form of worked examples set in boxes within the body of the text to illustrate techniques more clearly, and two sets of questions at the end of each chapter. The first are discussion questions that require an argued answer and the second are problems that need a calculated solution. Answers are provided at the end of the book but only to the odd numbered problems, perhaps resulting in frustration to some readers! These large number of questions means that the book can be a fundamental training tool whether as part of a taught course or for students to work through by themselves. Problems are set in both imperial units that are still in common use in the USA and metric units used elsewhere. There is good value for those with earlier editions in that many of the questions are new, so that questions from the older edition can still be used!

The book is illustrated with many good quality diagrams and black and white photographs. There are 15 appendixes with useful data, an extensive glossary of terms and an index that meets even my exacting standards! The list of references is huge extending to more than some 20 pages, although as with most American authors very few works are cited from the literature from the rest of the world. A further attraction is the inclusion of a CD with student versions of three programs: Visual Modflow; Flownet: ,and Aqtesolv, with practical guidance on their use included in the text.

Fetter has long been regarded as a good book for self-help among the hydrogeological fraternity. This latest edition follows in the tradition set by the author many years ago and will be a valuable addition to most peoples' library of hydrogeology texts.

This review appeared in the Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management 2002, Volume 16, No 4, page 301.

Copyright © CIWEM 2002


Eur Geol Eur Ing Professor F.C. Brassington BSc MSc CGeol FGS CEng MICE FCIWEM