Glossary

Term
Definition
 
Aerobic

Living or taking place only in the presence of oxygen.

 
Allocation The amount of water assigned for use, out of a total amount that is available for use in a particular watershed or aquifer.
 
Anaerobic Living or taking place in the absence of oxygen.
 
Aquatic Consisting of, relating to or being in water; living or growing in, on or near water.
 
Aquifer A permeable body of rock capable of yielding usable quantities of groundwater to wells and springs.
 
Base of groundwater exploration A feature shown on the provincial groundwater maps. Defines the depth to which it is generally considered to be uneconomic to explore for groundwater because of the depth of drilling required and/or the water at that depth is considered to be too highly mineralized for the intended use.
 
Bedrock formations Rock deposited prior to glaciation. These layers are overlain by glacial deposits which consist of glacial till, sand and gravel.
 
Biodiversity The many and varied species of life forms on earth, including plants, animals, micro-organisms, the genes they possess and their habitats.
 
Climate Meteorological elements (e.g. precipitation, temperature, radiation, wind, cloudiness) that characterize the average and extreme conditions of the atmosphere over long periods of time at a location or region of the earth’s surface.
 
Climate change An alteration in measured meteorological conditions that significantly differs from previous conditions and is seen to endure, bringing about corresponding changes in ecosystems and socio-economic activities.
 
Conservation The preservation and renewal, when possible, of human and natural resources. The use, protection and improvement of natural resources according to principles that ensure their highest economic and social benefits.
 
Conservation easement A  voluntary legal agreement between a property owner and a government or qualified conservation agency. These agreements are tailored to each individual landowner and conserve the property’s natural values and features by restricting the type and amount of development that can occur on the owner’s property.
 
Deleterious Harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way.
 
Deleterious substance Any substance that is deleterious to fish, fish habitat, or to the use by man of fish that frequent that water. See The Fisheries Act for further details.
 
Development Building, engineering, mining or other operations that alter or intensify the use of a resource.
 
DFO Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
 
Discharge

The flow of surface water in a stream or ditch or the flow of groundwater from a spring or flowing artesian well; the rate of flow.

 
Diversion The removal of water from any waterbody, watercourse or aquifer (either for use or storage), including the removal of water for drainage purposes. Construction of any works required for the diversion of water need approval pursuant to Section 50 of The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority Act. The total diversion is equal to the allocation plus any losses from evaporation or seepage.
 
Drainage Movement of water off land, either naturally or man-made.
 
Drought Generally in reference to periods of less than average or normal precipitation over a set time, sufficiently prolonged to cause serious hydrological imbalance that results in biological or economic losses.
 
DUC Ducks Unlimited Canada, an entity that conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitat for North American waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.
 
Ecological Pertains to the relationship between living organisms and their environments.
 
Economic development The process of using and converting resources into wealth, jobs and an enhanced quality of life.
 
Ecosystem A dynamic complex of organisms (biota) including humans, and their physical environment, that interacts as a functional unit in nature.
 
Effective drainage area The area which is estimated to contribute runoff in at least half of the years.
 
Effluent The treated wastewater discharged into the environment.
 
Faculative Bacteria that can live in a range of external conditions, including both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
 
First Nation An Indian band or an Indian community functioning as a band but not having official band status, not including Inuit or Métis peoples.
 
Grazing management Activities that ensure stocking rates are appropriate to sustain long-term health of livestock grazing conditions during wet and dry seasons.
 
Gross drainage area The area bounded by the height of land between adjacent watersheds.
 
Groundwater Water beneath the surface of the earth in the pores and fractures of sand, gravel, and rock formations.
 
Habitat Natural surroundings or native environment where a plant or animal grows and lives.
 
Headwater Small streams and lakes that are the sources of a river, located in the upper reaches of a watershed.
 
Hydro From the Greek hydor, meaning “water.”
 
Hydrogeology The science of subsurface waters and related geologic aspects.
 
Hydrology The science of the waters of the earth, their occurrences, circulation and distribution on or below the earth’s surface.
 
Intensive Livestock Operation (ILO) Production facilities such as feedlots and buildings where many animals are raised in a confined space that does not have naturally-growing vegetation and where waste accumulates if not removed (as defined by The Agricultural Operations Act in Saskatchewan).
 
Land cover Predominant vegetation on the surface of a parcel of land.
 
Land use Present use of a given area of land.
 
Leachate A liquid that has percolated through or out of another substance such as soil or refuse, and may contain nutrients or contaminants.
 
Lithology The characteristics of rock formations.
 
Median A value in a sorted range of values by which there is the same number of values above it as there is below it. A statistical term used in non-parametric statistics.
 
MOE Ministry of Environment - formerly Saskatchewan Environment (SE).
 
Native prairie Age-old plant communities of the prairie and parkland regions that may contain more than 200 types of grasses, flowers and shrubs (native grassland and parkland aquatic and terrestrial habitats).
 
Non-point source pollution Single or multiple contaminants of unknown origin that enter waterways, degrading water quality.
 
Partnership Co-operative, collaborative alliance between/among stakeholders in a non-legal arrangement used to improve and build relationships and achieve common goals.
 
Permeability The ability of a material to allow the passage of a liquid, such as water through rocks. Permeable materials, such as gravel and sand, allow water to move quickly through them, whereas impermeable material, such as clay, does not allow water to flow freely.
 
Point source contamination A static and easily identifiable source of air, soil or water pollution.
 
Recharge Replenishment of the groundwater by the addition of water.
 
Riparian An area of land adjacent to or connected with a stream, river, lake or wetland that contains vegetation that is distinctly different from vegetation of adjacent upland areas.
 
Riparian areas The zone of vegetation alongside waterways and other surface water. Lush and diverse vegetation is the best sign of healthy, well-managed riparian areas and is critical to filtering and slowing runoff.
 
River basin An area that contributes to form a watershed.
 
Sewage The waste and wastewater from residential or commercial establishments that is normally discharged into sewers.
 
Sewage lagoon A shallow pond where sunlight, bacterial action and oxygen work to purify wastewater; also used for storage of wastewater.
 
Source Water Protection The prevention of pollution and the sound management of factors and activities that (may) threaten water quality and quantity of lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams and groundwater.
 
Stakeholder An individual or group with direct or indirect interest in issues or situations, usually involved in understanding and helping resolve or improve their situations.
 
Stewardship Judicious care and responsibility by individuals or institutions for reducing their impacts on the natural environment.
 
SWA Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.
 
Water quality The chemical, physical and biological characteristics of water with respect to its suitability for a specific use.
 
Watershed An elevated boundary contained by its drainage divide and subject to surface and subsurface drainage under gravity to the ocean or interior lakes.
 
Watershed and Aquifer management A process, within the geographic confines of a watershed or aquifer, that facilitates planning, directing, monitoring and evaluating activities to ensure sustainable, reliable, safe and clean water supplies.
 
Watershed and Aquifer planning A process, within the geographic confines of a watershed or aquifer and with the participation of stakeholders, to develop plans to manage and protect water resources.
 
Watershed health The desired maintenance over time of biological diversity, biotic integrity and ecological processes of a watershed.
 
Wetland An area of low-lying land covered by water often enough to support aquatic plants and wildlife for part of the life cycle. The wetland area includes the wet basin and adjacent upland.
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