Hydrological Sciences Journal – Journal des Sciences Hydrologiques, 55(1) 2010 1
ISSN 0262-6667 print/ISSN 2150-3435 online
© 2010 IAHS Press
Something old, something new, something red, something blue
As evident from the cover, size and layout of this
issue, Hydrological Sciences Journal (HSJ) inaugu-
rates several changes in 2010. These follow a suite of
developments aimed at modernizing our 50+ year-old
periodical. In 2005, in its 50th volume, HSJ entered
the electronic era by being published electronically
and archived online, while printed copies continued to
be produced. In 2007, all old HSJ volumes were digi-
tized and everything published more than five years
earlier was made openly available at the web site of
the International Association of Hydrological Sci-
ences (IAHS), http://iahs.info/. In August 2009, we
launched an electronic manuscript processing system
to facilitate submission and peer review. Now, in our
55th volume we are integrating all the electronic files
and functions, we are providing new electronic for-
mats of articles (html, in addition to pdf), and we are
substantially improving the look of the print version.
The last moves have been made in association
with Taylor & Francis (T&F), one of the world’s lead-
ing academic journal publishers. The partnership of
IAHS Press with T&F is the felicitous outcome of
intense investigations and negotiations over the last
two years. With this partnership come further
improvements to HSJ including: (a) use of Taylor &
online platform, (b) forward
citation linking and online publication of articles
ahead of the print issue through iFirst, and (c) open
access to articles in volumes published two or more
years previously. Furthermore, HSJ will increase in
size, from six issues per year (in 1988–2009) to eight
from 2010; and one or two of the eight issues will be
special issues. The new arrangement will bring bene-
fits specifically to IAHS members, including much
lower personal subscription prices, as well as free
online subscriptions for members in the most finan-
cially-disadvantaged countries. HSJ will continue to
be included in the UNDP Online Access to Research
in the Environment (OARE) programme, which ena-
bles access from libraries in the poorest countries. We
believe that our partnership with T&F will develop
HSJ much more than IAHS could do alone, bringing
great gains for both readers and contributors, and
building further on the Journal’s long-standing tradi-
tion of quality with inclusiveness.
The new online manuscript management system
has enabled improvements in our peer review sys-
tem. These include delegating greater responsibility
to the Associate Editors who thus have a more active
role (most papers are now assigned to Associate Edi-
tors to deal with), transparency of the status of a
paper in the review process for the authors, as well as
faster and higher quality reviewing.
While introducing many new elements to the
procedures and overall style of HSJ, we are retaining
important traditional elements. We have not forgot-
ten that HSJ is the oldest periodical in hydrology
worldwide, first published in 1956 (as Bulletin of the
International Association of Scientific Hydrology) by
IAHS, the oldest international learned society in the
water-related sciences (serving the world hydrologi-
cal community since 1922). The truly international
character of IAHS and HSJ are vital to both, and our
mission assumes a mentor role particularly for scien-
tists from the less developed countries.
We intend that HSJ will remain a friendly,
approachable journal. We are aware that electronic
systems often lack any personal touch, but we hope
to continue building good relationships with our
authors and reviewers. Some still prefer communica-
tion by email and this will be possible. In addition,
we will continue our practice (not frequent in other
journals) that all accepted papers are carefully read
and edited by the Editors before publication. We
believe that this practice is compatible with the men-
toring role and also provides essential added value to
each published paper, optimizing its presentation.
Over the decades, HSJ has been widely known
as the “red journal”. While keeping this characteristic
of the Journal’s cover page, we introduce a new ele-
ment, an image of the River Nile on the cover. Why
the Nile? There are several reasons:
*From an old English saying at weddings (see http://ask.yahoo.com/20031027.html)
Natural characteristics The uniqueness of the
Nile extends beyond the fact that it is the longest
river of the world. Its basin, which empties into the
Mediterranean Sea, encompasses an enormous
area—as far south as Lake Victoria—and thus inte-
grates climatic behaviours over tropical and subtropi-
cal zones. But, above all, there is no better example
to show the importance of water (blue) to the land-
scape, the environment and ecology (green), and the
contrast between water availability (blue-green) and
shortage (desert beige) (Fig. 1).
Importance in the history of Science The hydro-
logical behaviour of the Nile perhaps represents the
first scientific problem, put and studied as such, in
the history, not only of hydrology, but of Science in
general, thus emphasizing the importance of hydrol-
ogy at the birth of Science. We owe the first scient-
ific perspective of the Nile’s behaviour to Thales of
Miletus (640–546 BC, one of the Seven Sages of
Greece, the father of philosophy and of science, and a
hydraulic engineer who accomplished the diversion of
the River Halys for military purposes), and the relation
of the story to Herodotus (Histories, Euterpe, 20).
Thales tried to explain the hydrological “paradox” or
“puzzle” of the Nile’s floods, i.e. the fact that flooding
occurs in summer when rainfall in Egypt is very low to
non-existent. Although Thales’s exegesis is incorrect
Fig. 1 Blue, green and desert beige around the Nile (images from NASA Visible Earth; visibleearth.nasa.gov).
(he hypothesized that the region’s winds are respons-
ible), in the history of Science it is more important that a
natural feature was described and studied on physical
grounds, for the first time, than correctly explained
(Koutsoyiannis et al., 2007). The instrumental records
of the Nile water level (the “Nilometer” data) are also
unique in the history of Science, as they extend for sev-
eral centuries, while additional documentation of its
flow covers several millennia. The seasonal variation of
the Nile Flow is no longer a “paradox” for modern Sci-
ence, but the Nile continues to puzzle us in modern
times. It was the investigation of its records (for dam
design studies) and the observation of huge climatic
variability in them at large time scales, hundreds of
years or more, that triggered discovery of the natural
behaviour called the “Hurst phenomenon”, after Hurst
(1951), also termed (cf. Mandelbrot, 1977) the “Joseph
effect” to symbolize the biblical story of seven dry years
and seven wet years of the Nile. Research on the Nile
continues in the 21st century and HSJ continues to pub-
lish papers related to its basin or its sub-basins (e.g.
Cudennec et al., 2007; Sutcliffe & Petersen, 2007;
Koutsoyiannis et al., 2008, 2009; Goulden et al., 2009;
Petersen & Fohrer, 2010a,b).
Transboundary nature The Nile River Basin
extends over ten East African countries (Rwanda,
Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanza-
nia, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and
Egypt). The welfare of two basin-sharing countries,
Egypt and Sudan, where precipitation is low,
depends on the Nile water. Several agreements
between Sudan and Egypt have been reached, regu-
lating distribution of the Nile water resources
between the two countries. However, economies in
all ten Nile Basin countries are heavily dependent on
the use of water by agriculture. The current status
and the expected future development of the Nile
Basin countries, with increased water demand, repre-
sents a unique challenge in water management with a
prominent international dimension.
Water use The water uses of the Nile include
water supply for domestic, industrial and agricultural
use, hydropower generation, flood protection and
environmental management. Major existing water
works include high dams, irrigation canals, hydro-
power plants, and smaller storage projects, barrages
and hydraulic works. The use of the Nile water is
currently so intense that little flows into the Mediter-
ranean; only 0.4 km
from the more than 90 km
water entering the High Aswan Dam, are released
annually to the sea. The rest either evaporates from
Lake Aswan, irrigation systems or arable land, or is
lost from the surface water pool by way of other
processes, such as infiltration (Varis, 2000). Evi-
dently, this has substantial environmental impacts.
We believe that all these unique characteristics
make the Nile an ideal symbol of hydrological sci-
ences to be directly linked, through its cover page, to
the future of HSJ. We hope that the combination of
these new and traditional elements will be appreci-
ated by the HSJ audience.
Cudennec, C., Leduc, C. & Koutsoyiannis, D. (2007) Dryland
hydrology in Mediterranean regions—a review. Hydrol. Sci. J.
Goulden, M., Conway, D. & Persechino, A. (2009) Adaptation to cli-
mate change in international river basins in Africa: a review.
Hydrol. Sci. J. 54(5), 805–828.
Hurst, H. E. (1951) Long term storage capacities of reservoirs.
Trans. ASCE 116, 776–808.
Koutsoyiannis, D., Mamassis, N. & Tegos, A. (2007) Logical and
illogical exegeses of hydrometeorological phenomena in
ancient Greece. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply,
Koutsoyiannis, D., Yao, H. & Georgakakos, A. (2008) Medium-
range flow prediction for the Nile: a comparison of stochastic
and deterministic methods. Hydrol. Sci. J. 53(1), 142–164.
Koutsoyiannis, D., Montanari, A., Lins, H. F. & Cohn, T. A. (2009)
Climate, hydrology and freshwater: towards an interactive
incorporation of hydrological experience into climate
research. Discussion of “The implications of projected cli-
mate change for freshwater resources and their management”
by Z. W. Kundzewicz, L. J. Mata, N. W. Arnell, P. Döll, B.
Jimenez, K. Miller, T. Oki, Z. Sen & I. Shiklomanov, Hydrol.
Sci. J. 53(1), 3–10; Hydrol. Sci. J. 54(2), 394–405.
Mandelbrot, B. B. (1977) The Fractal Geometry of Nature, 248.
Freeman, New York, USA.
Petersen, G. & Fohrer, N. (2010a) Flooding and drying mechanisms
of the seasonal Sudd flood plains along the Bahr el Jebel in
southern Sudan. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(1), 4–16.
Petersen, G. & Fohrer, N. (2010b) Two-dimensional numerical
assessment of the hydrodynamics of the Nile swamps in south-
ern Sudan. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(1), 17–26.
Sutcliffe, J. V. & Petersen, G. (2007) Lake Victoria: derivation of a
corrected natural water level series. Hydrol. Sci. J. 52(6),
Varis, O. (2000) The Nile Basin in a global perspective: natural,
human, and socioeconomic resource nexus. Water Interna-
tional 25(4), 624–637.
Demetris Koutsoyiannis &
Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz, Co-Editors
Frances Watkins, HSJ Editorial Office
Cate Gardner, IAHS Press Manager