WRR 50th Anniversary: Legacy and Perspectives for the Science of Hydrology

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"Legacy and Perspectives for the Science of Hydrology"

The idea of a special section of Water Resources Research to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the journal was first discussed during a meeting of the WRR editorial board that took place in Washington DC in March 2014. Several options were discussed for the structure of the special section and the workflow. The target was quite ambitious: to stimulate the international hydrological community to produce a long lasting reference for future research, in a similar way as the 1986 special issue Trends and Directions in Hydrology that Steve Burges edited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of WRR.
After the discussion in Washington, a first call for nominations of potential authors was sent out to the WRR Associate Editors, as well as the recent fellows and medalists of the AGU Hydrology Section. After receiving the feedback of the community, a second open call for contributions was sent out in July 2014, where the Editors expressed their wish to open the special section to any contribution from the community that may fit into the theme of "History and Future of Water Science for People". Finally, a a third call for papers was issued in September 2014, where December 31st was fixed as final deadline for paper submission.
The response of the community was really prompt: by the end of 2014 almost 70 papers were received, most of which were excellently focusing on the theme that the editors identified.

WRR 50th The review process kept the editors busy for most of 2015. It was an exciting work, an excellent and gratifying cooperation with the authors, who were motivated to reach the target of producing a significant reference for future generations. By the end of June 2015 the review process was completed and the editors started the final phase of the editorial work, to produce a coherently organized collection of papers. When I put all the papers together and assessed their overall content to write the introduction to the special issue, I was amazed and pleased to see that a coherent train of thoughts emerged. The title of the special section became "Legacy and Perspectives for the Science of Hydrology". It was organized in three chapters and eight subjects. As a final effort, Harihar Rajaram and the editors wrote A reflection on the first 50 years of Water Resources Research, an excellent summary of the history of WRR that in my opinion is one of the most interesting papers of the special section. I am very grateful to Hari for making this endeavour!

The above introduction provides a comprehensive summary of the content of the special section, that counts 1200+ pages! We were motivated to publish a book containing all the papers, but we realized that such a book would be difficult to manage. Therefore, we decided to make the book available in digital format. Maybe that some printed copies will be made available in the future. Please let me know if anyone is interested.
The special section was also announced with an article in the December 2015 Hydrology Section Newsletter of AGU.

Finally, the special section was presented during the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting, in particular during the Hydrology Luncheon, where a leaflet was distributed along with WRR bottles as a special gift to the community.
I am humbly convinced that the target of producing a long lasting reference for the future of hydrology has been reached. I am sincerely grateful to the Editorial Board, the AGU Publication Staff, and the whole hydrological community, including WRR Associate Editors and reviewers, for making this target feasible. I would like to conclude by using the final words of the above introduction: "The target for hydrology in the 21st century must be ambitious; there are relevant and global water problems to solve, there is a compelling need to ensure sustainable development of the human community. Our desire is that water science may evolve by gaining the necessary knowledge to address the scientific challenges posed by our era. Our hope is that water science may evolve at the global level, to minimize inequalities between genders, across the continents, and across the ethnic groups. Water is a unifying element, and water science will be vital to ensure that humans and our planet coevolve sustainably."
Once again, thank you to all the people who contributed to this exciting effort.
Alberto Montanari
WRR 50th