Australian Water Information Dictionary

Water status: Australian Water Resources Assessment

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accessible storage capacity

The volume of water that a water storage can hold between the minimum supply level and full supply level; equal to the total storage capacity excluding the dead storage capacity. It is the sum of this capacity that is reported for a collection of water storages. See the water storage diagram for more information.

Related:

Synonym: capacity

This definition applies to:

accessible storage volume

The volume of water stored at a particular time and date. It excludes the dead storage volume and hence is the volume of water that can be accessed under normal circumstances without the installation of additional infrastructure. See the water storage diagram for more information.

Synonym: volume

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ACT

Australian Capital Territory

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AIFS

Australian Integrated Forecast System

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alluvial

Relating to a deposit of sand, mud, etc., formed by flowing water.

Source: © Macquarie Dictionary Fifth Edition, 2009, Macquarie Dictionary Publishers.

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alluvial plain

The plain or flat land area adjacent to a stream or river (or the prior course of a stream or river) composed of unconsolidated sedimentary deposits (alluvium) subject to periodic inundation by the stream (either now or in the past).

Related: floodplain

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alluvial valley

A valley filled with alluvial stream deposits.

Source: © McGraw-Hill,1994, Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, Editor: Parker, SP, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill Professional, New York.

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alluvium

Loose, unconsolidated (not cemented together into a solid rock), soil or sediments (from sands to large boulders), eroded, deposited and reshaped by water in some form in a non-marine setting.

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anomaly

The deviation of a measurable unit, (e.g, temperature or precipitation) from the long-term average in a given region over a specified period.

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antecedent soil moisture

Water present in the soil prior to a rainfall event

Related: soil moisture

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aquifer

A geological formation or group of formations; able to receive, store and transmit significant quantities of water.

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aquitard

A geological formation that may contain groundwater but is not capable of transmitting significant quantities of it under normal hydraulic gradients. May function as a confining bed.

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artesian basin

A geological structural feature or combination of such features in which water is confined under pressure.

Source: © Macquarie Dictionary Fifth Edition, 2009, Macquarie Dictionary Publishers

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ASCII

American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A character-encoding that represents text in computers.

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ASRIS

Australian Soil Resource Information System

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AWRA

Australian Water Resources Assessment

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AWRA-L

A part of the AWRA Modelling System developed by CSIRO under the WIRADA alliance with the Bureau that represents landscape water balance.

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AWRIS

Australian Water Resources Information System

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bare ground

Land not covered by vegetation that does not fall into any other land use/cover category. It includes eroded areas and construction sites.

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baseflow

The component of streamflow supplied by groundwater discharge.

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basin

A tract of country, generally larger catchment areas, drained by a river and its tributaries.

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basinal aquifer

A subsurface porous and permeable layer present in a basin. A basin is a concave or syncline-like bedrock structure filled or partially filled with sediments.

Related: aquifer

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bore

A hole drilled in the ground, a well or any other excavation used to access groundwater. May be used for observation of groundwater (including water level, pressure or water quality).

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broadacre

Farms or industries engaged in the production of grains, oilseeds and other crops (especially wheat, barley, peas, sorghum, maize, hemp, safflower and sunflower), or the grazing of livestock for meat or wool, on a large scale.

Source: © Organisation for Ecomonic Co-operation and Development, Glossary of Statistical Terms, Viewed 5 October 2011, http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=235

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bulk diversion and extraction

The volume of water diverted from streams and storages (surface water) or extracted from bores (groundwater) by water providers for various uses.

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catchment

The land area draining to a point of interest, such as a water storage or monitoring site on a watercourse.

Related: water storage

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chromosols

Soils with an abrupt increase in clay content down the soil profile. Occur in all parts of Australia. Common in the cereal belt of southern New South Wales and Victoria.

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

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climate

The average long term weather conditions in a particular area. See the Weather and Climate pages for more information.

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climatic condition

The condition of the climate (e.g. rainfall, temperature, humidity) over a particular period such as a year or a month.

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coefficient of variation

A normalized measure of dispersion of a probability distribution. The coefficient of variation is the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean.

Source: Business Dictionary

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commercial water

The total amount of metered and estimated non-metered, potable and non-potable, water supplied to commercial properties.

Source: Water Regulations 2008 Schedule 3 Part 1

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CSIRO

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

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CSV

comma separated values.

A computer text file where numbers are written as characters separated by commas.

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CV

coefficient of variation

A normalized measure of dispersion of a probability distribution. The coefficient of variation is the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean.

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dam

A barrier to obstruct the flow of water, especially one of earth, masonry, etc., built across a stream.

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dead storage capacity

The portion of total storage capacity that is equal to the volume of water below the level of the lowest outlet (the minimum supply level). This water cannot be accessed under normal operating conditions. See the water storage diagram for more information.

Related: minimum supply level

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decile

One of a series of threshold values that divides a set of ordered data into 10 groups with an equal number of data points in each.

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

Related: quantile

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deep drainage

The volume of water that moves below vegetation root zones which may or may not enter the saturated zone and become recharge to the groundwater system.

Source: © Commonwealth of Australia 2005, National Water Commission, Australian Water Resources 2005, Glossary and definitions, Viewed 5 October 2011, http://www.water.gov.au/Glossary.aspx

Related: zone of saturation

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dermosols

Moderately deep and well-drained soils of wetter areas in eastern Australia. Can be strongly acidic in the high rainfall areas or highly alkaline if they contain calcium carbonate.

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

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desalinated water

Volume of water sourced from desalination processes.

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desalination

The process of removing salt from brackish or saline water.

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discharge from groundwater to surface water

Flow of groundwater from the saturated zone to streams, water storages, farm dams and natural surface water features. This is a form of groundwater-surface water interaction.

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distributed model

A hydrological model that takes into consideration the spatial variability of driving processes.

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downward leakage to deep aquifers

The downward movement of groundwater from a shallow aquifer to a deeper, underlying aquifer.

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drainage division

Representation of the catchments of major surface water drainage systems, generally comprising a number of river basins. In Australia, 12 drainage divisions were first defined in the 1960s by the Australian Water Resources Council. Australian drainage division boundaries were revised by the Bureau in 2010 in line with the creation of the Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric (Geofabric) based on the 9 second Digital Elevation Model.

Related: Bureau

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drought

A long period of abnormally low rainfall, especially one that adversely affects agriculture and other human activities. See the Climate page on drought for more information.

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dryland agriculture

All agricultural crops and grassland cultivated for production with water input from rainfall only , i.e. no irrigated crops.

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dryland crops

All non-irrigated crops including cereals, oil seeds, sugar and legumes.

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dryland horticulture

All non-irrigated horticulture excluding intensive horticulture (e.g. glasshouses and shadehouses), which falls into the intensive use category. This category includes both perennial (e.g. tree fruits, tree nuts and vine fruits) and seasonal (e.g. fruits, nuts and herbs) horticulture.

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dryland pasture

All non-irrigated pastures including grazing modified pasture, exotic pasture, native pasture, woody fodder plants, pasture legumes and sown grasses.

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dryland salinity

Excessive salts in the soil surface and groundwater in non-irrigated areas. Although salts are a natural part of the Australian landscape, dryland salinity refers to excess salt that affects soil, native vegetation, biodiversity, crops and water quality.

Source: NSW Enviornment and Heritage - Dryland salinity

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ecosystem

A dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.

Source: Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

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El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

The oscillation between the El Niño climate phase and the La Niña climate phase, or opposite phase, usually over several years. See the Weather and Climate page on ENSO for more information.

Related:

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electrical conductivity

In relation to water, means the capacity of the water to transmit a flow of electricity and is a common measure of the salinity of the water.

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endorheic basin

A closed surface water drainage basin that retains water and has no outflow to the sea.

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environmental flow

The streamflow required to maintain appropriate environmental conditions in a waterway or water body.

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ephemeral

Something which only lasts for a short time. Typically used to describe rivers, lakes and wetlands that are intermittantly dry.

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ET

evapotranspiration

The sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the earth’s land surface to the atmosphere.

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evaporation

A process which occurs at a liquid surface resulting in a change of state from liquid to vapour. In relation to water resource assessment and water accounting, evaporation refers to the movement of water from the land surface (predominantly liquid) to the atmosphere (water vapour). The liquid water at the land surface that may be available for evaporation includes surface water, soil water, water within vegetation and water on vegetation and paved surfaces.

Related:

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evapotranspiration

The sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the earth’s land surface to the atmosphere.

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farm dam

Small water storage usually managed by the landowner with a capacity usually less than 100 ML. The volume includes dead storage.

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ferrosols

Soils with high free iron and clay contents. They occur along the eastern coastline, in northern parts of Western Australia and the Top End.

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

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ferruginous

Containing iron and typically having reddish-brown colour.

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financial year

A period used for reporting of annual financial statements in Government and other organisations. In Australia this usually refers to the 12 months starting 1 July and ending on 30 June.

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floodplain

Flat or nearly flat land adjacent to a stream or river that experiences occasional or periodic flooding.

Related: alluvial plain

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forest

Land dominated by trees and other woody vegetation. It includes closed forest, open forest and woodland.

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fractured rock

Hard impermeable rock containing fractures and fissures that are able to store and transmit water.

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GAB

Great Artesian Basin

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GL

gigalitre

1,000 megalitres, which also is 1,000,000,000 litres.

Related: gigalitre (GL)

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GMU

groundwater management unit

An area delineated for the management of groundwater based on similar resource characteristics (for example rock type and watertable depth) and management rules that may be applied.

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groundwater flow

Water that flows in aquifers and aquitards.

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groundwater level

The level of groundwater in an aquifer typically measured in a groundwater bore. In the case of an unconfined aquifer the groundwater level is equal to the watertable level.

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groundwater management unit (GMU)

An area delineated for the management of groundwater based on similar resource characteristics (for example rock type and watertable depth) and management rules that may be applied.

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groundwater recharge

The infiltration or ingress of water to the saturated part of a geological layer. Infiltration of precipitation and its movement to the watertable is a form of natural recharge. Other forms arise from flooding and irrigation. Artificial recharge can also occur through various means including bore injection.

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GTP

groundwater treatment plant

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holocene

The more recent of the two epochs of the Quaternary Period, beginning at the end of the last major Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago. It is characterised by the development of human civilisations.

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hydraulic conductivity

A property of soil or rock, which describes the ease with which water can move through pore spaces or fractures. It depends on the intrinsic permeability of the material and on the degree of saturation. Saturated hydraulic conductivity describes water movement through saturated media.

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hydraulic gradient

Calculated as the difference between two hydraulic head measurements divided by the distance between the two measurements. Hydraulic gradient is used in the calculation of water flow.

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hydraulics

A topic in applied science and engineering dealing with the mechanical properties of liquids.

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hydrogeology

The branch of geology that deals with the occurrence, distribution, movement and effect of groundwater.

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hydrograph

A graph showing the surface level, discharge, velocity, or some other feature of water, with respect to time. For example, a graph illustrating the discharge of a stream against time is called a discharge hydrograph.

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hydrology

The branch of science especially concerned with the movement and quality of water in relation to land.

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hydrometry

The monitoring of the components of the hydrological cycle including rainfall, groundwater characteristics, as well as water quality and flow characteristics of surface waters.

Source: Wikipedia, Viewed 5 October 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrometry

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hydrosols

Seasonally or permanently wet soils. Distribution is often limited to wet drainage depressions, low lying narrow coastal plains and seepage areas on lower slopes.

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

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Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)

A major contributor to rainfall variability over Australia. When the dipole is in a positive phase, the sea-surface temperature (SST) around Indonesia is cooler than average while those in the western Indian Ocean are warmer than average. The positive phase increases easterly winds across the Indian Ocean, while convection in areas near Australia reduces. This results in suppressed rainfall over the Australian region. During a negative phase, warmer than average SST near Indonesia and cooler than average SST in the western Indian Ocean, result in more westerly winds across the Indian Ocean, greater convection near Australia and enhanced rainfall in the Australian region. See the Weather and Climate page on Indian Ocean for more information.

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infiltration

The process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil.

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inflow from the sea

The movement of seawater into a coastal aquifer often as a result of groundwater extraction. Also known as seawater intrusion.

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inter-basin transfer

The bulk transfer of water from one river basin into another.

Related: transfer

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inter-bedded

Beds (layers) of rock lying between or alternating with beds of a different kind of rock.

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irrigated crops

Crops including cereals, oil seeds, sugar, cotton and legumes supplied with water artificially.

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irrigated horticulture

Fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants supplied with water artificially.

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irrigated pasture

Pastures supplied with water artificially, including modified pasture, exotic pasture, native pasture, woody fodder plants, pasture legumes and sown grasses.

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irrigation returns

The portion of irrigation water that, after delivery, is not consumed and is returned into the surface water or groundwater system.

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kandosols

Mostly well-drained, permeable soils. Common in all States except Victoria and Tasmania. Most widespread in the arid and semi-arid interior.

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

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karstic rock

Soluble rocks including limestone, dolomite and gypsum.

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kurosols

Acidic soils with an abrupt increase in clay content. Extend from southern Queensland, through coastal and subcoastal New South Wales, to Tasmania.

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

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La Niña

The extensive cooling of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. In Australia (particularly eastern Australia), La Niña events are associated with an increased probability of wetter conditions. See the Weather and Climate page on La Niña for more information.

Related:

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lacustrine

Relating to a lake. Lacustrine sediments, for example, are those that are deposited in lakes.

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

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landscape water yield

A combination of surface runoff and groundwater recharge.

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mAHD

The abbreviation for elevation in metres with respect to the Australian Height Datum.

Related: Australian height datum

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major flooding

In addition to the criteria for moderate flooding, extensive rural areas and/or urban areas are inundated. Properties and towns are likely to be isolated and major traffic routes likely to be closed. Evacuation of people from flood affected areas may be required.

Related:

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managed aquifer recharge

The deliberate adding of water to an aquifer.

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MDB

Murray–Darling Basin

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Mesozoic

An interval of geological time from about 250 million years ago to about 65 million years ago.

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

Related:

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minimum supply level

The lowest water level to which a water storage can be drawn down (0% full) with existing outlet infrastructure; typically equal to the level of the lowest outlet, the lower limit of accessible storage capacity. See the water storage diagram for more information.

Related: accessible storage capacity

This definition applies to:

minor flooding

Causes inconvenience. Low-lying areas next to watercourses are inundated which may require the removal of stock and equipment. Minor roads may be closed and low-level bridges submerged.

Related:

This definition applies to:

ML

The abbreviation for megalitre. One megalitre is equal to one million litres.

This definition applies to:

moderate flooding

In addition to the criteria for minor flooding, the evacuation of some houses may be required. Main traffic routes may be covered. The area of inundation is substantial in rural areas requiring the removal of stock.

Related:

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MSL

Minimum Supply Level

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nested bore

A bore with more than one pipe or a group of nearby bores, open at different levels in aquifers/aquitards, used to evaluate the vertical variation in groundwater pressure head or chemistry.

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non-potable water

Water not intended for use as drinking water.

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non-saline groundwater

Groundwater with salinity (expressed as Total Dissolved Solids) usually less than 3,000 milligrams per litre.

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NRM

natural resource management

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NSW

New South Wales

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NWC

National Water Commission

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NWI

National Water Initiative

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palaeochannel

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

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palaeovalley

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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palaeovalleys

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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Palaeozoic

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:

This definition applies to:

percentile

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

This definition applies to:

pleistocene

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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pliocene

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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podosols

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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potable water

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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prescribed well area

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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private irrigation diversion and extraction

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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private stock and domestic diversion and extraction

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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quantile

Denotes one of a series of threshold values that divides a set of ordered data into groups with an equal number of data points in each. The terms tercile, quartile, quintile, decile and percentile refer to quantiles that divide the distribution of data into 3, 4, 5, 10 and 100 equal parts, respectively.

Related:

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Quaternary

An interval of geological time from about 1.8 million years ago to the present.

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

Related:

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QWC

Queensland Water Commission

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rainfall deficit

Rainfall minus the amount of evaporation that would occur if a sufficient water was available. This is usually calculated for a period of a month, season or year.

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rainfall residual

Actual rainfall minus the average rainfall.

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Ramsar sites

Wetlands of international importance that are representative, rare or unique, or are important for conserving biological diversity and are developed and protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.

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raw water

untreated water.

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recycled water

Treated sewage effluent, and:

• includes water extracted by sewer mining and subsequently treated

• does not include treated urban stormwater.

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riparian zone

The interface between land and a river or stream.

Related: riparian

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rudosols

Soils with minimal development. Widespread but most have few commercial land uses because of their properties or occurrence in arid regions, or both. The largest areas occur in the desert regions of arid central and northwest Australia and support grazing of native pastures.

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

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saline groundwater

Groundwater with a salinity (expressed as Total Dissolved Solids) greater than 3,000 milligrams per litre.

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SE

South East / southeast

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seepage

The infiltration of water from streams, irrigation channels, water storages, farm dams, natural surface water features and septic tanks into the groundwater system. It is a form of surface water–groundwater interaction and groundwater recharge.

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septic tank

A small-scale, on-site sewage system that is common in areas with no connection to main sewage systems and uses anaerobic processes to break down wastewater.

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sewer mining

The process of recovering water from a wastewater system.

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shallow groundwater evapotranspiration

Loss of shallow groundwater to the atmosphere by evapotranspiration, particularly important in the riparian zone. It includes groundwater uptake by vegetation from beneath the watertable but does not include uptake from the unsaturated zone.

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snowpack

Accumulation of snow and ice on the ground.

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sodosols

Soils with an abrupt clay increase down the profile and high sodium content, which may lead to soil dispersion and instability. Usually associated with a dry climate and widely distributed in the eastern half of Australia and western portion of Western Australia.

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

This definition applies to:

soil moisture

The water content in the unsaturated zone of a soil profile.

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soil permeability

A soil property indicating the rate of transmission of water through the soil matrix.

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soil sodicity

The characteristics caused by the presence of sufficient sodium attached to clay in soil as to effect the soil structure. This reduces infiltration and drainage.

Source: CRC for Soil & Land Management, 1994, Technical note 1: Introduction to soil sodicity.

This definition applies to:

soil texture

The relative amounts of sand, silt and clay particles in a soil. The physical and chemical behaviour of a soil is influenced strongly by soil texture.

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Southern Oscillation Index (SOI)

An index calculated from the monthly or seasonal fluctuations in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin. See the Climate page on SOI for more information.

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SST

sea surface temperature

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stage

The water level, typically measured at a water monitoring site.

Synonym: gauge height

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standard deviation

The square root of the average of the squares of a set of deviations about an arithmetic mean.

Source: © Macquarie Dictionary Fifth Edition, 2009, Macquarie Dictionary Publishers.

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statistical significance

A statistical assessment of whether observations reflect a pattern rather than just chance.

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storage

A pond, lake or basin, whether natural or artificial, for the storage, regulation and control of water.

Synonym: water storage

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stormwater capture

Excess rainfall that is collected after it has run off urban surfaces.

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stormwater discharge to sea

Stormwater that discharges directly into the sea via a stormwater outflow drain located on the coastline.

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stream

A watercourse and its tributaries. Can be permanent or ephemeral.

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surface runoff

Water from precipitation or other sources that flows over the land surface.

In relation to the water resource assessment, surface runoff is the fraction of precipitation that does not infiltrate at the land surface and may be retained at the surface or result in overland flow toward depressions, streams and other surface water bodies.

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surficial sediment

Unconsolidated sediments found at the land surface.

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sustainable groundwater yield

The groundwater extraction regime, measured over a specified planning timeframe, which allows acceptable levels of stress in groundwater systems and protects dependent economic, social and environmental values.

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sustainable yield

The level of water extraction from a particular system that would compromise key environmental assets, or ecosystem functions and the productive base of the resource, if it were exceeded.

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tenosols

Weakly developed soils with poor water retention, almost universal low fertility and occurrence in regions of low and erratic rainfall, Tenosols are mainly used for the grazing of native pastures.

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

This definition applies to:

terrigenous

The sediments formed in the sea from material derived from terrestrial environments by erosion. They comprise sand, mud and silt carried to sea by rivers. Their composition is usually related to their source rocks and deposition of these sediments is largely limited to the continental shelf.

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Tertiary

An interval of geological time from about 65 million to 1.8 million years ago.

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

Related:

This definition applies to:

total dissolved solids

The sum of all particulate material dissolved in water. Usually expressed in terms of milligrams per litre. It can be measured by evaporating the solvent and measuring the mass of residues left or may be estimated from the electrical conductivity of the water.

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trade waste sewage

The sewage produced by any industry, business, trade or manufacturing process.

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transfer

The movement of water from one location to another.

Related: inter-basin transfer

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transpiration

The giving off of water vapour from parts of plants, especially through the stomata of leaves.

Related: evapotranspiration

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turbidity

In relation to a water sample, means the amount of small particles of solid matter suspended in the water sample, measured by the amount of scattering and absorption of light rays caused by the particles.

Source: Water Regulations 2008 Schedule 3 Part 1

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unconfined aquifer

An aquifer whose upper surface is a watertable free to fluctuate in equilibrium with atmospheric pressure.

This definition applies to:

unconsolidated sediments

Loosely-bound sediment particles that are not cemented together into a solid matrix.

Source: Modified from http://www.groundwater.org/gi/gwglossary.html#U

This definition applies to:

unsaturated zone

The soil between the land surface and the regional watertable in which the pore space contains both air and water.

This definition applies to:

upward leakage from deep aquifers

The upward movement of groundwater from a deep aquifer to an overlying aquifer.

This definition applies to:

urban stormwater

Water in the urban stormwater drainage system.

This definition applies to:

urban stormwater reuse

Urban stormwater that has been treated and reused.

This definition applies to:

urban treated effluent

Urban waste water that has received some form of treatment. If re-used, it is a form of recycled water.

This definition applies to:

urban untreated effluent

Urban waste water that has not received any form of treatment. If re-used, it is a form of recycled water.

This definition applies to:

urban water supply

The volume of water (potable, non-potable and recycled water) supplied to customers over a reporting period.

This definition applies to:

vertosols

Clay soils that shrink and swell, and crack as the soil dries. Largest single area occurs in the arid and semi-arid interior of the continent.

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

This definition applies to:

water allocation

The specific volume of water allocated to water access entitlements in a given water year or allocated as specified within a water resource plan.

Source: Adapted from the Water Act 2007 Part 1 Section 4

Synonym: allocation

Equivalent: water market equivalent terms

This definition applies to:

water balance

The flow of water in and out and changes in storage of a surface water system, groundwater system, catchment or specified area over a defined period of time.

This definition applies to:

water cycle

The cyclic movement of water on, above and below the surface of the earth.

This definition applies to:

water grid

Multiple supply sources, such as dams, groundwater, desalination and purified recycled water, connected via a network of pipes and channels to support water demands.

This definition applies to:

water level

The elevation of the water surface at a particular time and date, measured relative to a specified datum.

This definition applies to:

water provider

A business or organisation that provides a reticulated water supply, irrigation water, reused or recycled water, or a bulk water supply service. Water providers may be Government or private and often operate water storage, purification and supply services. They may also provide sewerage or drainage services.

Source: © Commonwealth of Australia 2005, National Water Commission, Australian Water Resources 2005, Glossary and definitions, Viewed 5 October 2011, http://www.water.gov.au/Glossary.aspx

This definition applies to:

water quality

The physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water. It is most frequently used by reference to a set of standards against which compliance can be assessed. Common standards used are those for drinking water, safety of human contact and the health of ecosystems.

This definition applies to:

water resource

All natural water (surface water or groundwater) and alternative water sources such as recycled or desalinated water which has not yet been abstracted or used.

This definition applies to:

water resources prescribed area

An area in South Australia which includes surface water, watercourses and groundwater. It is prescribed under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (SA) where regulatory control is needed to secure sustainable management and support water-dependent ecosystems. The prescription is administered by the Department for Water.

This definition applies to:

water restrictions

Any constraints or restrictions placed on water use by an infrastructure operator, local council or State or Territory Government.

This definition applies to:

water storage

A pond, lake or basin, whether natural or artificial, for the storage, regulation and control of water.

This definition applies to:

water stress

A condition where there is not enough water to meet needs, including the effective functioning of ecosystems.

This definition applies to:

watertable

The groundwater surface in an unconfined aquifer or confining bed at which the pore pressure is atmospheric. It can be measured by installing shallow wells extending a few meters into the saturated zone and then measuring the water level in those wells.

This definition applies to:

weather

Short term atmospheric conditions such as temperature, humidity, wind, cloud cover or precipitation in a certain location at a certain time. See the Weather and Climate pages for more information.

This definition applies to:

wetland

An area of land whose soil is saturated with moisture either permanently or intermittently. Wetlands are typically highly productive ecosystems. They include areas of marsh, fen, parkland or open water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters.

This definition applies to:

WIRADA

Water Information Research and Development Alliance

This definition applies to:

WRPA

water resource plan area

This definition applies to:

WTP

water treatment plant

This definition applies to:

WWTP

wastewater treatment plant

This definition applies to:

zone of saturation

The soil and geological layers below the land surface where all spaces between soil/sediment/rock particles are filled with water. It encompasses all the soil and geological layers below the watertable.

This definition applies to: