Australian Water Information Dictionary

Alphabetical list of items

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A deposit of unconsolidated sediments or semi-consolidated sedimentary rocks deposited in ancient inactive river channel systems.

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A valley formed by ancient rivers that are no longer active. Alluvial deposits can often be found here buried by other sediments.

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A valley that existed in a preceding geological period - most likely infilled with sediments in subsequent geological periods thus providing a potential subsurface pathway for water in current times.

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An interval of geological time spanning from roughly 540 to 250 million years ago.

Source: USGS publication: Division of geological time - Major Chronostratigraphic and geochronologic units

Related:

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A measurable characteristic of a physical entity (feature); for example the temperature of water in a river.

Related: feature

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positional dilution of precision

A measure of the geometric quality of a GPS satellite configuration in the sky. A PDOP value measures the possible error in both the horizontal and vertical plane (altitude).

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The highest river height (in metres) observed during a flood event at the specified site on the river.

Related: observed river height

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The volume of water in storage as a percentage of the accessible storage capacity. Note that the percentage full may exceed 100% due to floods for example.

Related: accessible storage capacity

Synonym: % full

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One of a series of threshold values that divides a set of ordered data into 100 groups with an equal number of data points in each.

For example, consider a dataset of annual rainfall totals arranged in increasing order. The 20th percentile is a value with 20% of the data below it and 80% above it. The 90th percentile is a value with 90% of the data below it and 10% above it.

Related: quantile

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A region in the unsaturated zone where the soil or rock may be locally saturated because it overlies a low-permeability unit.

Source: National Water Commission Water Dictionary

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The Pfafstetter coding system developed by Otto Pfafstetter in 1989, is a methodology for assigning catchment identifers based on the topology of the land surface.

Source: ESRI

Related: Geofabric Surface Catchments

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Value that represents the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. It is defined as the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration of the solution.

Source: Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality (2000)

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A circular chart that is divided into sectors. A pie chart is used to display tercile forecasts with three sectors representing low flow, near median flow and high flow.

Related FAQ

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A series of acoustic pulses, of a given frequency, transmitted by an acoustic doppler current profiler.

Source: AS3778.1—2009 Clause 5.84. Reproduced with permission from SAI Global Ltd under Licence 1307-c151. This standard can be purchased online at http://www.saiglobal.com

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An epoch which is part of the geologic timescale, usually dated as 1.8-1.6 million to 10,000 years before the present. It covers most of the latest period of repeated glaciations.

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An epoch that lasted from 5.3 million to 2.6 million years ago. It follows the Miocene epoch and is followed by the pleistocene epoch. It represents a period of general cooling and drying.

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probable maximum flood

Related: probable maximum precipitation (PMP)

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probable maximum precipitation

The greatest depth of precipitation for a given duration meteorologically possible for a given size storm area at a particular location at a particular time of the year, with no allowance made for long-term climatic trends.

Related: PMF

Soils dominated by organic matter and aluminium with or without iron. Largely confined to parts of the coastal zone and some offshore islands in Australia.

Source: R F Isbell, 1996, The Australian Soil Classification, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

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A family of hand held acoustic based instrumentation used to measure water velocities and water depths during a discrete discharge measurement (gauging).

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A measure of the geometric quality of a GPS satellite configuration in the sky. A PDOP value measures the possible error in both the horizontal and vertical plane (altitude).

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Water that is intended for use as drinking water and should materially meet the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2004, or equivalent.

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A surface representing the hydraulic head of groundwater; represented by the watertable altitude in an unconfined aquifer or by the altitude to which water will rise in a properly constructed well in a confined aquifer.

Source: USGS Definition of Terms

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All forms in which water falls on the land surface and open water bodies as rain, sleet, snow, hail, or drizzle.

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The height (in metres) to which the river is predicted to rise at the river gauge referred to in the warning. The actual depth of floodwater will vary across the floodplain. Knowledge of past flood events, as well as estimates of flood levels from flood studies, are used by local Councils, emergency services and landowners to determine which areas are likely to be flooded from the predicted river height. The accuracy of this prediction will depend on a number of factors, including the type of flood forecasting model and its input data. Predicted river heights are subject to forecasting error and are regularly updated as more information becomes available.

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A state-of-the-art seasonal to inter-annual forecast system consisting of coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models (GCMs) along with sophisticated data assimilation and land-surface initialisation systems.

Source: POAMA

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A groundwater area in South Australia that is regulated under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (SA) where control of groundwater abstraction is needed to secure sustainable management and support water-dependent ecosystems. The regulation is administered by the Department for Water, SA.

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The gauge plate which shows gauge zero elevation as described in AS 3778.2.2:2001 section 5.2.2.3.

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Omissions from, or misstatements in, the water report entity’s general purpose water accounting report for one or more prior reporting periods arising from a failure to use, or misuse of, reliable information that: (a) was available when general purpose water accounting reports for those reporting periods were issued and (b) could reasonably be expected to have been obtained and taken into account in the preparation and presentation of those general purpose water accounting reports.

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Water that is self-extracted by the user usually in situ from streams and farm dams (surface water) or from bores (groundwater) for irrigation.

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Water that is self-extracted by the user usually in situ from streams and farm dams (surface water) or from bores (groundwater) for stock and domestic use.

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A probabilistic streamflow forecast shows the range of possible streamflow values and how likely it is that they will occur.

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The greatest depth of precipitation for a given duration meteorologically possible for a given size storm area at a particular location at a particular time of the year, with no allowance made for long-term climatic trends.

Source: World Meteorological Organisation (1986). Manual for Estimation of Probable Maximum Precipitation. Second Edition. Operational Hydrology Report No. 1, WMO – No. 332, Geneva.

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A water right that is tradeable, falling under the broad category of either water access entitlement or water allocation. A product may be bundled or unbundled and has various attributes such as water resource type (e.g. surface water, groundwater, regulated, unregulated) and reliability type (e.g. high, low priority).

Synonym: water product

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The velocity distribution of a stream cross-section.

Notes:
(1) Ensembles are measured representations of the profile.

(2) When used as a verb, profile refers to an instrument measuring stream velocity at defined positions in the cross-section.

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Collects non-potable water on an opportunistic basis downstream of a major storage. This water is transferred back to the main urban supply reservoirs in order to settle (i.e. reduce turbidity) and become part of the water supply source for that reservoir.

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Point Velocity Meter

A family of hand held acoustic based instrumentation used to measure water velocities and water depths during a discrete discharge measurement (gauging).

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