All scientific work performed so far to find the causality of the acidification of many Norwegian open waters, have – considerably – increased our knowledge about precipitation and soil water chemistry. But has it improved our understanding of what happens to the water itself – from being rain – or meltwater – to reappearing into the nearest stream channel? Most hydrochemical models so far have been based on too generalized and too simplified concepts of hillslope runoff genesis. It won't mend matters, however, that the last 20-30 years' of investigation within international hillslope hydrology has rendered conflicting results. Most analytical hydrologists today are, thus, anxious to have at least one conceptural model with a correct description of the runoff processes within a natural hillslope. This article tries to open up for a discussion of the relevance of the most adequate conceptual models in hillslope hydrology. Snowmelt runoff is emphasized and based upon our own experience from small forested watersheds in SE-Norway.

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