Knowledge Base

WASTE TREATMENT PLANT — A facility containing a series of tanks, screens, filters and other processes by which pollutants are removed from water. More commonly referred to as Wastewater Treatment Plant.

WASTEWATER — (1) A combination of liquid and water-carried pollutants from homes, businesses, industries, or farms; a mixture of water and dissolved or suspended solids. (2) That water for which, because of quality, quantity, or time of occurrence, disposal is more economical than use at the time and point of its occurrence. Waste water to one user may be a desirable supply to the same or another user at a different location.

WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE — The plant or network for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage in a community. The level of treatment will depend on the size of the community, the type of discharges, and the designated use of the receiving water.

WASTEWATER OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE — Actions taken after the construction of a Wastewater Treatment Plant to assure that the facilities will be operated, maintained, and managed to reach prescribed effluent levels in an optimum manner.

WASTEWATER RECLAMATION — The planned reuse of waste water for specific beneficial purposes.

WASTEWATER TREATMENT — Any of the mechanical or chemical processes used to modify the quality of waste water in order to make it more compatible or acceptable to man and his environment.

WASTEWAY — (1) Channel for conveying or discharging excess water or wastewater. (2) (Irrigation) Structure used to divert surplus flow from the main canal into a natural or constructed drainage channel.

WASTE UTILIZATION — Using an agricultural or other waste on land in an environmentally acceptable manner while maintaining or improving soil and plant resources.

WATER (H2O) — The liquid that descends from the clouds in rain and which forms streams, lakes, and seas, and is a major constituent of all living matter. Pure water consists of Hydrogen (11.188 percent by weight) and Oxygen (88.812 percent by weight) in the proportion of two atoms of hydrogen to one of oxygen (H2O), and is an odorless, tasteless, transparent liquid which is very slightly compressible. It has a slightly blue color which is observable only in thick layers of the liquid. At its maximum density, 39.2F (or 4C), it is the standard for specific gravities, one cubic centimeter weighing one gram. Water's weight per gallon (at 15C or 59F) is 8.337 pounds (3.772 kilograms). It is also the standard for specific heats. Its own specific heat is very great. It freezes at 32F (0C) and boils at 212F (100C) under atmospheric pressure at sea level. Pure water is an extremely poor conductor of electric current, although many Aqueous (water-based) solutions are conductors. Water is the most important of solvents, dissolving many gases, liquids, and solids. Natural waters of the earth, as those of springs, rivers, or the oceans, contain more or less dissolved matter, which is mostly removed by distillation. Rain water is nearly pure. Water is important chemically as a solvent and dissociating agent, as a catalytic agent, and often as one of the substances taking part in a chemical reaction. Ordinary water, described above, is a mixture of molecules containing hydrogen of atomic weight 1, with a small proportion (about 0.015 per cent) of molecules containing hydrogen of atomic weight 2. This later kind of water, termed Heavy Water or Deuterium Oxide, D2O, can be separated by fractional electrolysis or distillation and in other ways and is used as a moderator in certain nuclear reactors.

WATER — (1) To pour or sprinkle on, make wet. (2) To dilute or weaken by adding water. (3) To irrigate land. (4) To take on a supply of water, as a ship. (5) To drink water, as an animal. (6) Any of various forms of water, for example, fresh water, waste water, etc.; often waters, as naturally occurring mineral water, such as those at a spa. (7) A body of water such as a sea, lake, river, or stream; waters, as a particular stretch of sea or ocean, especially that of a state or country, for example, U.S. waters.

WATER ALLOCATION — In a hydrologic system in which there are multiple uses or demands for water, the process of measuring a specific amount of water devoted to a given purpose or use.

WATER ANALYSIS — The determination of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water. Such analysis usually involves four kinds of examination: bacterial, chemical, microscopic, and physical.

WATER APPLICATION EFFICIENCY — The ratio of the volume of water stored in the root zone of a soil during irrigation to the volume of water applied.

WATER AUDIT — A procedure that combines flow measurements and listening surveys (leak detection) in an attempt to give a reasonably accurate accounting of all water entering and leaving a system.

WATER BALANCE — (1) A measure of the amount of water entering and the amount of water leaving a system. (2) The ratio between the water assimilated into the body and that lost from the body; also, the condition of the body when this ratio approximates unity.

WATER BANKING — A water conservation and use optimization system whereby water is reallocated for current use or stored for later use. Water banking may be a means of handling surplus water resources and may involve aquifer recharge or similar means of storage. Typically, under such arrangements, an agency is created with the authority to purchase, sell, hold, and transfer water and water rights in addition to serving as a negotiator between buyers and sellers. In its broadest sense, all water rights would be covered under such water banking arrangements to include surface water, groundwater, treated wastewater effluent, and irrigation tailwater. Generally, participants in water banking arrangements will have their water rights protected from cancellation (non-beneficial use) for a specific period so long as their water is "deposited" in the water bank.

WATER BUDGET — (1) (Hydrology) An accounting of the inflows to, the outflows from, and the storage changes of water in a hydrologic unit or system. (2) (Conservation and Planning) The calculated amount of water a household should use based on the type and number of fixtures, landscape requirements, and size of family.

WATER CLASSIFICATION — The separation of water in an area into classes according to usage, such as domestic consumption, fisheries, recreation, industrial, agricultural, navigation, power production, waste disposal, etc.

WATER CONSERVATION — The physical control, protection, management, and use of water resources in such a way as to maintain crop, grazing, and forest lands, vegetative cover, wildlife, and wildlife habitat for maximum sustained benefits to people, agriculture, industry, commerce, and other segments of the national economy. Water conservation measures result in a reduction in applied water due to more efficient water use such as the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP) — Urban Water Use, or Efficient Water Management Practices (EWMP) — Agricultural Water Use. The extent to which these actions actually create a savings in water supply depends on how they affect new water use and depletion.

WATER CONSERVING IRRIGATION SYSTEM — Irrigation systems including a combination of drip irrigation, soaker hoses, bubblers, and low-trajectory spray heads for water distribution; zoning irrigation for different water-demand plant types; electronic timers with five-day programming and rain override devices, irrigation schedules for early morning watering every five to seven days; and soil moisture sensors.

WATER CONTAMINATION — Impairment of water quality to a degree which reduces the usability of the water for ordinary purposes, or which creates a hazard to public health through poisoning or spread of disease.

WATER CONTROL — (Soil and Water Conservation) The physical control of water by such measures as conservation practices on land, channel improvements, and installation of structures for water retardation and sediment detention. As defined, this concept does not refer to the legal control of water rights.

WATER CROSSING — A commonly used route for crossing a river or stream.

WATER CYCLE — The cycle of evaporation and condensation that controls the distribution of the earth's water as it evaporates from bodies of water, condenses, precipitates, and returns to those bodies of water.

WATER DELIVERY SYSTEM — Reservoirs, canals, ditches, pumps, and other facilities to move water.

WATER DEMAND — The water requirements for a particular purpose, such as irrigation, power production, municipal supply, plant transpiration, or storage.

WATER DEMAND SCHEDULE — A time distribution of the demand for prescribed quantities of water for specified purposes. It is usually a monthly tabulation of the total quantity of water that a particular water user intends to use during a specified year.

WATER DESALINATION — The removal of salts, such as from a saline water supply, usually by Electrodialysis or Reverse Osmosis.

WATER DISCHARGE — The amount of water and sediment flowing in a channel, expressed as volume per unit of time. The water contains both dissolved solids (Dissolved Load) and suspended sediment (Suspended Load).

WATER DISPOSAL SYSTEM — The complete system for removing excess water from land with minimum erosion. For sloping land, this may encompass a terrace system, terrace outlet channels, dams, and grassed waterways. For level land, it may include only surface drains or both surface and subsurface drains.

WATER EXPORTS — The artificial transfer (pipes, canals, aqueducts, etc.) of water to one region or subregion from another region.

WATER FLOW — The rate of flow of water measured in volume and time (e.g., cubic feet per second, or cfs).

WATER HAMMER — (1) Very rapid pressure wave in a conduit due to a sudden change in flow; the potentially damaging slam, bang, or shudder that occurs in a pipe when a sudden change in water velocity (usually as a result of too-rapidly starting a pump or operating a valve) creates a great change in water pressure. (2) A banging noise in steam pipes, caused by steam bubbles entering a cold pipe partially filled with water.

WATER IMPORTS — The artificial transfer (pipes, canals, aqueducts, etc.) of water into one region or subregion from another region.

WATER LAW — A law that has been instigated to control the right to the use of water.

WATER LEVEL — (1) An instrument to show the level by means of the surface of water in a trough or in a U-shaped tube. (2) The surface of still water. (3) The level assumed by the surface of a particular body or column of water. (4) (Hydrology) Synonymous with the Water Table. (5) The Water Line of a ship.

WATERLOG, also Waterlogging — (1) To soak or saturate with water. (2) A soil condition in which a high or perched water table is detrimental to plant growth, resulting from over-irrigation, seepage, or inadequate drainage. Also, the replacement of most of the soil air by water. (3) (Nautical) To make heavy and sluggish in the water because of flooding, as in the hold of a ship.

WATER LOSS — (1) The sum of water lost from a given land area during a specified time period by transpiration, evaporation, and interception. (2) In irrigation, seepage and evaporation from land and ditches; excess water drained from the land surfaces and the deep percolation. The basic concept is that water loss is equal to Evapotranspiration, that is, water that returns to the atmosphere and thus is no longer available for use. However, the term is also applied to differences between measured inflow and outflow even where part of the difference may be Seepage.

WATER LOSSES — Water which is unavailable or lost from a particular containment system.

WATER MAIN — A principal pipe in a system of pipes for conveying water, especially one installed underground.

WATER MANAGEMENT — Also referred to as Watershed Management, it is the analysis, protection, development, operation, or maintenance of the land, vegetation, and water resources of a drainage basin for the conservation of all its resources for the benefit of its residents. Watershed management for water production is concerned with the quality, quantity, and timing of the water which is produced.

WATER METER — An instrument for recording the quantity of water passing through a particular outlet.

WATER PIPE — (1) A pipe that is a conduit for water. (2) An apparatus for smoking, such as a Hookah, in which the smoke if drawn through a container of water or ice and cooled before inhaling.

WATER PLAN — A document of issues, policies, strategies and action plans intended to effectively and economically execute a Water Planning process.

WATER PLANNING — Water planning is an analytical planning process developed and continually modified to address the physical, economic, and sociological dimensions of water use. As a planning process it must assess and quantify the available supply of water resources and the future demands anticipated to be levied upon those resources. Based upon this continuous supply and demand evaluation, water planning must also give direction for moving water supplies to points of use while encouraging users to be good and effective stewards of available water resources. The water planning process requires constant re-evaluation and updating to address changing social, political, economic, and environmental parameters. While the ultimate objective of such efforts is typically the development of a comprehensive, publicly-supported Water Plan, it is also critical to develop and maintain a comprehensive and viable water planning process that covers various aspects of water resource development, transport, water treatment, allocation among various competing uses, conservation, waste-water treatment, re-use, and disposal.

WATER POLICY — Those actions governing the management, administration, and procedures used to implement and direct a formal Water Planning process by which water rights, water uses, and water diversions are evaluated, ranked, and allocated on the basis of specific public policy goals and objectives and designated, either by legislative mandate, regulation, or fiat, Preferred Uses. Similar in scope and purpose to water planning, a water policy approach to water planning is also inherently concerned with various aspects of water resource development, transport, water treatment, allocation among various competing uses, conservation, waste-water treatment, re-use, and disposal. However, unique to the water policy approach is that water-related actions are specifically governed by pre-determined, publicly-approved water-related stipulations such as environmental impacts, quality of life values, "Highest and Best Use" concepts and criteria, water quality standards, conservation issues, industry sector water allocations, economic diversity goals, etc. To effect such a policy approach to water planning, a Public Scoping process is essential to ascertain, quantify, and rank the specific policy goals used to allocate limited water resources among competing uses.

WATER POLLUTION — Generally, the presence in water of enough harmful or objectionable material to damage the water's quality. More specifically, pollution shall be construed to mean contamination of any waters such as will create or is likely to create a nuisance or to render such waters harmful, detrimental or injurious to public health, safety or welfare, or to domestic, municipal, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, or other legitimate uses, or to livestock, wild animals, birds, fish or other aquatic life, including but not limited to such contamination by alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of such waters, or change in temperature, taste, color or order thereof, or the discharge of any liquid, gaseous, radioactive, solid or other substances into such waters. More simply, it refers to quality levels resulting from man's activities that interfere with or prevent water use or uses.

WATER QUALITY — A term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose.

WATER QUALITY INDICATORS — Constituents or characteristics of water that can be measured to determine its suitability for use.

WATER QUALITY INDICATORS — Constituents or characteristics of water that can be measured to determine its suitability for use.

WATER REQUIREMENT — The total quantity of water, regardless of its source, required for a specified use under a predetermined or prescribed situation.

WATER REQUIREMENT (AGRICULTURE) — The total quantity of water, regardless of its source, required for production of crops at their normal growth under field conditions. It includes applied water, subsurface irrigation, and precipitation needed by the crops.

WATER RESOURCES — The supply of groundwater and surface water in a given area.

WATER RIGHT — A legally protected right, granted by law, to take possession of water occurring in a water supply and to put it to Beneficial Use.

WATER RIGHTS, CORRELATIVE DOCTRINE — When a source of water does not provide enough for all users, the water is reapportioned proportionately on the basis of prior water rights held by each user.

WATERSHED — (1) All lands enclosed by a continuous hydrologic drainage divide and lying upslope from a specified point on a stream. Also referred to as Water Basin or Drainage Basin. (2) A ridge of relatively high land dividing two areas that are drained by different river systems.

WATERSHED AREA (DRAINAGE AREA) — The watershed area at a point in the stream refers to the area of the earth from which the water concentrates toward that point, through the drainage system.

WATER SUPPLY — (1) Any quantity of available water; a Water System. (2) The water available for a community or region. (3) The source and delivery system of such water.

WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM — Includes the works and auxiliaries for collection, treatment, storage, and distribution of the water from the sources of supply to the free-flowing outlet of the ultimate consumer.

WATER SYSTEM — (1) A river and all its tributaries. (2) A Water Supply.

WATER TABLE — The level of groundwater; the upper surface of the Zone of Saturation for underground water. It is an irregular surface with a slope or shape determined by the quantity of ground water and the permeability of the earth material. In general, it is highest beneath hills and mountains and lowest beneath valleys.

WATER TRANSFER — Artificial conveyance of water from one area to another across a political or hydrological boundary. This is referred to as an import or export of water from one basin or county to another.

WATER USE — The amount of water needed or used for a variety of purposes including drinking, irrigation, processing of goods, power generation, and other uses. The amount of water used may not equal the amount of water withdrawn due to water transfers or the recirculation or recycling of the same water. For example, a power plant may use the same water a multiple of times but withdraw a significantly different amount. Also see Water Use, Types, below.

WATER USE EFFICIENCY — A measure of the crop production per unit of water used, irrespective of water source, expressed in units of weight per unit of water depth per unit area. The concept of utilization applies to both Dryland Farming and irrigated agriculture.

WATER USE PRACTICES — Direct, indirect, consumptive, and nonconsumptive uses of water. These include domestic practices (e.g., washing, bathing, cooking, drinking), navigation, wildlife habitat management, irrigation practices, recreation activities, industrial uses, and hydroelectric power generation.

WATER USE, TYPES — The use of water may be classified by specific types according to distinctive uses, such as the following:
[1] Commercial Water Use
[2] Domestic Water Use
[3] Hydroelectric Power Water Use
[4] Irrigation Water Use
[5] Livestock Water Use
[6] Mining Water Use
[7] Navigational Water Use
[8] Other Water Use
[9] Public Water Use (same as Utility Water Use)
[10] Residential Water Use (same as Domestic Water Use)
[11] Rural Water Use
[12] Thermoelectric Power Water Use

WATER WELL — An excavation where the intended use is for location, acquisition, development, or artificial recharge of ground water.

WATERWORKS — (1) The water system, including reservoirs, tanks, buildings, pumps, and pipes, that supplies water to a city, town, or other municipality. A single unit, such as a pumping station, within such a system. (2) An exhibition of moving water, such as a fountain or cascade.

WATER YIELD — Runoff, including ground water outflow that appears in the stream, plus ground water outflow that leaves the basin underground. Water yield is the precipitation minus the Evapotranspiration.

WATT — A unit of power or the rate of energy use or conversion when one joule of energy (0.0238 calories) is used or converted per second.

WEIR BASIN — (Irrigation) The wide, basinlike approach to the upstream side of a weir, being constructed so as to reduce to a minimum the effect of the momentum of the approaching water on the flow over the weir.

WELL (WATER) — An artificial excavation put down by any method for the purposes of withdrawing water from the underground aquifers. A bored, drilled, or driven shaft, or a dug hole whose depth is greater than the largest surface dimension and whose purpose is to reach underground water supplies or oil, or to store or bury fluids below ground.