Glossary and definitions

The glossary and definitions page includes a list of acronyms used across the website as well as terms and the definitions that have been agreed and used for Australian Water Resources 2005 data compilation and reporting.

Acronyms

Acronym
Definition
ABARE
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
ABS
Australian Bureau of Statistics
ACT
Australian Capital Territory
ACTEW
Australian Capital Territory Electricity and Water
ANCOLD
Australian National Committee on Large Dams
AUSRIVAS
Australian River Assessment System
AWR 2005
Australian Water Resources 2005
AWRC
Australian Water Resources Council
AWRIS
Australian Water Resources Information System
BoM
Bureau of Meteorology
BRS
Bureau of Rural Sciences
CFEV
Conservation Freshwater Ecosystems Values
CMA
Catchment Management Authority
COAG
Council of Australian Governments
CSIRO
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
CWMB
Catchment Water Management Boards
DAFF
Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (Australia)
D&S
Domestic and Stock
DEC
Department of Environment and Conservation (New South Wales)
DEH
Department of Environment and Heritage (Australia)
DEUS
Department of Energy, Utilities & Sustainability (New South Wales)
DNR
Department of Natural Resources (New South Wales)
DOP
Distribution Operation License (Queensland)
DoW
Department of Water (Western Australia)
DPIW
Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tasmania)
DSE
Department of Sustainability and Environment (Victoria)
DTAE
Department of Tourism, Arts and Environment (Tasmania)
DWLBC
Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation (South Australia)
EPA
Environment Protection Authority
FARWH
Framework for Assessment of River and Wetland Health
GA
GeoScience Australia
GDE
Groundwater dependent ecosystem
GL
Gigalitre = 1 000 000 000 litres = 1000 megalitres
GMA
Groundwater management area
GMU
Groundwater management unit
GMW
Goulburn-Murray Water
ISC
Index of Stream Condition
IUCN
International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
JRG
Jurisdictional Reference Group
KL
Kilolitre = 1000 litres
LGA
Local Government Authority
LPI
Land and Property Information (New South Wales)
MDBC
Murray-Darling Basin Commission
ML
Megalitre = one million litres
NEW
North-East Water
NNRMM&EF
Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, National Natural Resource Management Monitoring and Evaluation Framework
NLWRA
National Land and Water Resources Audit
NRETA
The Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts (Northern Territory)
NRM
Natural Resource Management
NRMMC
Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council
NSW
New South Wales
NWC
National Water Commission
NWI
National Water Initiative
PWC
Power and Water Corporation (Northern Territory)
QDPIF
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (Queensland)
QEPA
Environmental Protection Agency (Queensland)
QLD
Queensland
QNRW
Natural Resources and Water (Queensland)
QWC
Queensland Water Commission
ROL
Resource Operation License (Queensland)
ROP
Resource Operation Plan (Queensland)
RWSC
Rivers and Water Supply Commission (Tasmania)
SA
South Australia
SEIS
South East Irrigation Scheme (Tasmania)
SKM
Sinclair Knight Merz
SRA
Sustainable Rivers Audit (MDBC)
SWMA
Surface water management area
TAS
Tasmania
UA
Unincorporated area (for groundwater management)
VIC
Victoria
WA
Western Australia
WMA
Water Management Areas (can be based on either surface water management areas , see SWMA; or groundwater management areas, see GMU)
WRP
Water Resources Plan (Queensland)
WSP
Water sharing plan (New South Wales)
WSPA
Water supply protection areas

Definitions

Below are the definitions that have been agreed and used for Australian Water Resources 2005 data compilation and reporting.

Term
Note Ref.
Definition
Absolute Cap
5
A cap beyond which there is no intention that the level of entitlements could be increased.
See also: Cap, Provisional Cap, Rolling Cap
Aquifer
4
An underground (geologic) formation which is capable of holding water and through which water can percolate. Aquifers are capable of yielding quantities of groundwater for consumptive use.
Available water
4
Water potentially available for consumptive or environmental use.
Baseflow
4
The component of streamflow supplied by groundwater discharge.
Bulk water
4
Water supplied by a water provider to another water provider.
Cap
4
An upper limit for the volume of water available for use from a waterway, catchment, basin or aquifer.
See also: Absolute Cap, Provisional Cap, Rolling Cap
Consumptive pool
1
The volume of water resource that can be made available for consumptive use in a given water system under the rules of the relevant water plan
Consumptive Use
1
Use of water for private benefit consumptive purposes including irrigation, industry, urban and stock and domestic use
Dead storage
4
Capacity of a storage that is below the minimum operating level and cannot under normal circumstances be supplied to customers. Dead storage can be accessed for emergency supply (i.e. in times of drought) by installing temporary pumps to get the water out from below the minimum operating level. The minimum operating level can also be determined by water quality constraints
Deep drainage
5
The volume of water that moves below the root zone which may or may not enter the saturated zone and become recharge to the groundwater system. Estimated as part of the Water 2010 model (BRS, 2006)
Developed yield
4
Developed yield should be reported as the total volume of water that could be diverted for use, on average, at existing infrastructure levels over the critical period of interest and at a set level of reliability. The developed yield does not include volumes released for the environment, that is, it is the yield capable of being supplied under current infrastructure development after provisions for environmental flows have been made. For some surface water management areas the developed yield may exceed the sustainable yield
Discharge
3
Flow of groundwater from the saturated zone to the earth surface.
Distributed water
5
Water supplied by water authorities (metropolitan and non-metropolitan) via a distribution network.
Diversion
4
Water extracted for use from waterways (including storages) by means of pumping or gravity channels
Divertible
4
The ability to extract water from a surface water or groundwater resource, in a given area (see Diversion)
Environmental and other public benefit outcomes
1
Environmental and other public benefit outcomes are defined as part of the water planning process, are specified in water plans, and could include a number of aspects including environmental outcomes and other public benefits
Environmental outcomes
1
Examples of environmental outcomes are: maintaining ecosystem function (e.g. through periodic inundation of floodplain wetlands), biodiversity, water quality, and river health targets
Environmental water provisions
3
Water allocated to support environmental outcomes and other public benefits. Environmental water provisions recognise the environmental water requirements and are based on environmental, social and economic considerations, including existing user rights
Environmental water requirements
3*
Descriptions of flow regimes (e.g. volume, timing, seasonality, duration) that are needed to sustain the ecological values of aquatic ecosystems, including their processes and biological diversity, and that are designed to provide environmental outcomes
Environmentally sustainable level of extraction
1
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
Evapotranspiration
4
Process of moisture loss to the atmosphere from plants by transpiration and evaporation
Extraction
4
See also: Diversion
Full Supply Level (FSL)
4
Generally this is the level at which the storage starts to spill and corresponds to the maximum capacity for the storage. Sometimes the FSL may be set lower than the maximum capacity for dam safety reasons
Groundwater dependent ecosystem
3
Ecosystem that is dependent on groundwater for its existence and health
Groundwater management unit
3
A hydraulically connected groundwater system that is defined and recognised by state and territory agencies. This definition allows for management of the groundwater resource at an appropriate scale at which resource issues and intensity of use can be incorporated into local groundwater management practices
High level of development
3*
Sum of water access entitlements is between 70 per cent and 100 per cent of sustainable yield
Inflows
4
Surface water runoff and deep drainage to groundwater (groundwater recharge) and transfers into the water system (both surface and groundwater), for a defined area
In-stream use
4
The use of freshwater in situ (for example, within a river or stream). Can include recreation, tourism, scientific and cultural uses, ecosystem maintenance, hydroelectricity and commercial activities, and dilution of waste. The volume of water required for most in-stream uses cannot be quantified, with the exception of hydro-electricity generation
Irrigation diversions
4
The volume of water extracted from waterways for irrigation purposes. The volume includes all losses incurred from when the water is diverted from the river or reservoir until it is delivered to the farm gate
Large dam
4
The Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) has defined large dams as dams with a crest or wall height of greater than 15 metres, or as dams with a dam wall height of greater than 10 metres but meeting other size criteria, including creating a reservoir capacity of no less than 1000 ML.
Low level of development
3*
Sum of water access entitlements is less than 30 per cent of sustainable yield
Major extracted water storages
2
Major off-river storages that primarily store water extracted from rivers or aquifers, or from flood water emanating from rivers
Major on-stream storages
2
Major storages on defined watercourses
Major storages
4
Storages greater than 1000 megalitres in volume are considered to be major storages for the purposes of the water balance
Minor catchment storages
2
Small storages (farm dams) that are not on defined waterways or watercourses, that are not filled from extracted water or flood flows out of rivers but from local catchment runoff
Minor extracted water storages
2
Minor off-river storages (e.g. farm dams, turkey’s nest dams) that primarily store water extracted from rivers or aquifers, or from flood water emanating from rivers
Minor on-stream storages
2
Small storages (farm dams) on minor watercourses
Minor storages
4
Storages less than 1000 megalitres in volume are considered to be minor storages for the purposes of the water balance.
Moderate level of development
3*
Sum of water access entitlements is between 30 per cent and 70 per cent of sustainable yield
Non-renewable groundwater
5
Groundwater extracted from an aquifer that receives limited or no recharge (i.e. ‘mining’ of the resource or use of long term aquifer storage)
Non-saline groundwater
4
Groundwater with a salinity concentration less than 3500 milligrams per litre
Other public benefits
1
Examples of other public benefits (in relation to environmental water provisions) are: mitigating pollution, public health (e.g. limiting noxious algal blooms), Indigenous and cultural values, recreation, fisheries, tourism, navigation and amenity values
Overallocated
3*
Sum of water access entitlements is more than 100 per cent of sustainable yield. See also: overallocation
Overallocation
1
Refers to situations in which, with full development of water access entitlements in a particular system, the total volume of water able to be extracted by entitlement holders at a given time exceeds the environmentally sustainable level of extraction for that system
Overused
1
Refers to situations in which the total volume of water actually extracted for consumptive use in a particular system at a given time exceeds the environmentally sustainable level of extraction for that system. Overuse may arise in systems that are overallocated, or it may arise in systems where the planned allocation is exceeded due to inadequate monitoring and accounting
Provisional cap
5
A cap that recognises that the level of entitlement may be raised in the future. See also: Absolute Cap, Cap, Rolling Cap
Recharge
4
Inflow of water to a ground water reservoir from the surface. Infiltration of precipitation and its movement to the water table is one form of natural recharge
Reduced water level
4
Groundwater levels given with respect to height above sea-level (i.e. given in mAHD).
Regulated system
4
River system where the flow of the river is regulated through the operation of large dams or weirs
Renewable groundwater
4
Groundwater extracted from an aquifer that receives recharge from rivers, rainfall, or from other aquifers
Return flows
4
Return flows refer to water that has been diverted by industry or an irrigator and then returned to the river after use (e.g. non-consumptive uses such as hydropower, cooling water for industry or water for aquaculture). This water is included as an inflow to the basin because the water is available to be diverted downstream or will pass the basin outlet.
Reuse water
4
Drainage, waste or storm water that has been used again without first being discharged to the environment. It may have been treated to some extent
Rolling caps
5
Some water entitlements are based on a rolling average of use (e.g. entitlements that are averaged over a three-year period), rather than a fixed annual entitlement
See also: Absolute Cap, Cap, Provisional Cap
Runoff
4
The part of precipitation in a given area and period of time that appears as streamflow
Saline groundwater
4
Groundwater that exceeds a salinity concentration of 3500 milligrams per litre
Self-extracted water
4
Water that is extracted by the user (generally in-situ) from either surface waters (streams or dams) or groundwater bores.
Standing water level
4
Depth to groundwater (m) below a datum point or reference point, usually from the top of casing or natural surface.
Stormwater
4
Rainfall that is collected after it has run off urban surfaces.
Sustainable yield (groundwater)
1
See Environmentally Sustainable Level of Extraction
Sustainable yield (surface water)
1
See Environmentally Sustainable Level of Extraction
Treated effluent discharge
5
Where wastewater treatment plant effluent is not reused, the treated effluent may be disposed to land, evaporative ponds, rivers and other streams or the ocean. For the purposes of the water balance, we are interested only in treated effluent discharged back to rivers and other streams
Total net inflows
4
Total surface water runoff and deep drainage to groundwater (groundwater recharge) and transfers into the water system (both surface and groundwater), for a defined area.
Total water resource
4
Total inflows to surface and groundwater in a given year, for a defined area, plus the nett volume of water in store at the start of the year
Total water use
4
Total water use is equal to distributed water use plus self-extracted water use plus reuse water use.
Unincorporated areas
5
Unincorporated areas include any groundwater resources located outside of the groundwater management units for that jurisdiction. Unincorporated areas may be defined on the basis of hydrogeological basin or aquifer type
Unregulated system
4
River system where flows are not regulated by the operation of structures such as major dams or weirs
Urban diversions
4
The volume of water extracted from waterways to supply towns and does not include water for stock and domestic use. The volume of urban diversions is the total volume of water diverted and includes any losses in the distribution system.
Water
 
Unless specified otherwise, water includes groundwater and surface water resources within this document
Water access entitlement
1
A perpetual or ongoing entitlement to exclusive access to a share of water from a specified consumptive pool as defined in the relevant water plan
Water allocation
1
The specific volume of water allocated to water access entitlements in a given season, defined according to rules established in the relevant water plan
Water management areas
5
In general the water management areas for surface water will be the surface water management areas and groundwater management units reported in the National Land and Water Resources Audit 2000, subject to the adjustments to those boundaries made subsequently by the jurisdictions. In Tasmania the boundaries used will be those developed for the Conservation of Freshwater Ecosystems Values Project
Water plan
1
A statutory plan for surface and groundwater systems that is consistent with the regional natural resource management plans, and that is developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders on the basis of the best scientific and socio-economic assessment to provide secure ecological outcomes and resource security for users
Water provider
4
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
Water stock
4
Surface and groundwater resources available in Australia for economic and environmental use
Water system
1
A system that is hydrologically connected and described at the level desired for management purposes (e.g. subcatchment, catchment, basin or drainage division, or groundwater management unit, sub-aquifer, aquifer, groundwater basin)
Water use
5
The volume of water diverted from a stream or extracted from groundwater or transferred to another area for use. It is not representative of the “on farm” or “town” use. It is representative of the volume “taken” from the environment.
 
Notes:
The definitions provided above have been taken from the sources noted. The hierarchy adopted in providing these definitions has been:
 
(1)
the Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative
(2)
the Water Accounting Project currently in progress and being undertaken for the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
(3)
the National Land and Water Resources Audit: Australian Water Resources Assessment 2000
(4)
other sources as considered appropriate
(5)
developed as part of this project
*
The use of an asterisk denotes that the definition used has been modified (i.e. is not word for word). The intended meaning however has not been altered
 
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This website was last updated in 2007. It is no longer being maintained but remains here as an archive for information.23/07/2007