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Glossary

Aquatic
Consisting of, relating to, or being in water.

Biodiversity
“Biological diversity is the variety of all life forms – the different plants, animals and micro organisms, the genes they contain, and the ecosystems of which they form a part” (Commonwealth of Australia 1996). Usually three levels of biodiversity are considered – genetic, species and ecosystem diversity. Genetic diversity refers to the genetic information contained in the genes of all living things. Species diversity refers to the variety of all species of organisms. Ecosystem diversity is the variety of habitats, living communities and ecological processes.

Catchment
A catchment is an area of land, bound by hills or mountains from which all runoff water flows to the same low point. The low point could be a lake, dam, a river or the mouth of a river where it enters the ocean. Rainwater will make its way to this lowest point, via creeks, rivers and stormwater systems.

As well as rivers, creeks, lakes and dams, a catchment also includes groundwater, stormwater, wastewater, and water-related infrastructure. Catchments are connected from top to bottom, so what happens upstream in a catchment has a large influence further down the catchment. This is why it is important to manage a catchment as a whole, rather than in parts.

Climate Change
Any change in global temperatures and precipitation over time due to natural variability or to human activity. Global climate change is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere. The global concentration of these gases is increasing, mainly due to human activities, such as the combustion of fossil fuels (which release carbon dioxide) and deforestation (because forests remove carbon from the atmosphere). The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, has increased by 30 percent since preindustrial times.

Ecosystem
An interdependent and dynamic system of living organisms with their physical and geographical environment.

Ecosystem Health
A measure of the ability of an ecosystem to be productive, its biological diversity and its resilience to change.

Estuarine
The tidal part of a river where sea water mixes with fresh water.

Greywater
Greywater is waste water from the kitchen, laundry and bathroom (but not the toilet). It usually contains soap, detergents and fats.

Groundwater
Groundwater is water collecting below ground level in an aquifer or water table.

Hydrology
Hydrology is the study of water occurrence, distribution, movement and balances in ecosystems; the seasonal patterns of a river’s flow.

Impervious surface
Surfaces which do not allow rainwater to penetrate into the underlying soil.

Indigenous species
A plant or animanl species that occurs at a place within its historically known range and that forms part of the biological diversity of a place.

JAMBA and CAMBA
Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA) and China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (CAMBA) are bilateral agreements relating to the conservation of migratory birds and were formed with the Government of Japan in 1974, and the People’s Republic of China in 1986. The JAMBA and CAMBA agreements list terrestrial, water and shorebird species which migrate between Australia and the respective countries. In both cases the majority of listed species are shorebirds.

Native species
A plant or animanl species that is indigenous to Australia but not necessarily to the area

Natural Resource Management
Natural resource management is a discipline in the management of natural resources such as land, water, soil, plants and animals, with a particular focus on how management affects the quality of life for both present and future generations.

Nutrients
Nutrients are substances such as nitrogen and phosphorus in various forms required for the growth of plants. Excess concentrations of nutrients can be harmful in rivers, creeks and bays.

Pollution
Pollution is the contamination of soil, water, or air by the discharge of waste or other offensive materials. It is the presence of a contaminant to such a degree that the environment (land, water, or air) is not suitable for a particular use.

Ramsar Convention
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. It is an intergovernmental treaty providing the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Riparian
Of or pertaining to the bank of a river; beside or along the bank of a river, pond or small lake.

Run-off
Run off is rain or water, which flows from a catchment into a river, stream, lake or reservoir.

Sewage
Mainly liquid wastewater containing some solids which typically consists of washing water, faeces, urine, laundry waste and industrial waste and other material which goes down drains and toilets from households and industry. Refers to waste matter which passes through sewers.

Stormwater
Stormwater is rainfall that runs off roofs, roads and other surfaces where it flows into gutters, streams, rivers and creeks, and eventually into bays or the ocean. This water can carry contaminants such as plastic bags, detergents, nutrients and heavy metals.

Stormwater harvesting
This is the capture of stormwater run off for reuse. It is generally on a scale larger than individual properties.

Subcatchment
A subcatchment is a smaller area within a catchment that drains a specific area.

Water Sensitive Urban Design
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) involves the integration of water cycle management into urban planning and design. A best practice approach to urban stormwater management, WSUD provides for the sustainable management and improvement of water quality entering waterways from urban regions; opportunities
for stormwater and greywater harvesting and reuse; and innovative reductions in potable water demand.

Waterway
A passage for water or a body of water, including rivers, wetlands, and bays.

Wetland
Low-lying areas of land occasionally or permanently covered with either fresh or salt water. Wetlands can occur naturally and or they can be constructed.