User Guides

Glossary A-D

4 minutesread

These definitions and explanations should provide a comprehensive understanding of key terms related to freshwater management in New Zealand. Keep in mind that management practices, regulations, and terminology can evolve over time.

AllocationThe process of dividing and distributing a specific amount of water or contaminants to individuals or groups for their use. In New Zealand, water allocation is regulated to ensure sustainable resource use and minimize environmental impacts.
AbstractionRefers to the extraction of water from a water body, such as a river or aquifer. Water abstraction is controlled to maintain ecological health and ensure a sustainable water supply.
AerobicMeans in the presence of oxygen or growing in the presence of oxygen. Aerobic soils have plenty of oxygenated air to carry out soil organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling.
Affected partiesIndividuals or groups who may experience significant impacts from a proposed activity. In the context of resource consent applications, affected parties have the right to be notified and provide input to ensure their concerns are considered.
Amenity valuesNatural attributes of an area that contribute to its attractiveness, cultural significance, and recreational appeal. In freshwater management, protecting amenity values helps maintain the quality of water bodies for public enjoyment and cultural appreciation.
AmmoniaAn important parameter in assessing water quality. High levels of ammonia can be toxic to aquatic life, particularly fish. Monitoring and controlling ammonia levels are essential for safeguarding freshwater ecosystems. The level of total ammonia in water should be less than 0.88 grams per cubic metre to be safe for fish. Ammonia in waterways comes from either waste waters or animal wastes (dung and urine).
AnaerobicThe condition that describes when the soil is waterlogged, and the supply of oxygen is limited to plant roots. Anaerobic environments in soils and water bodies can negatively impact water quality and ecosystem health. Proper management aims to prevent prolonged anaerobic conditions.
AquiferAn underground layer of rock or sediment that stores and transmits groundwater. Aquifers are a critical source of freshwater and need careful management to prevent over-extraction and contamination.
Arable useDescribes land suitable for crop cultivation. In freshwater management, understanding land use types helps assess potential runoff and nutrient inputs that may affect water quality.
Assessment of Environmental EffectsA report accompanying resource consent applications that outlines the potential environmental impacts of proposed activities. This is a key document for decision-making to ensure that any adverse effects are considered and mitigated.
BackflowThe unintended flow of water or substances into a water supply system from unintended sources. Proper backflow prevention measures are essential to protect public water supplies from contamination.
BiodiversityShort for biological diversity – the variety of life on Earth. At a local level, it includes the variation of life in an ecosystem, including all the plants, animals, and micro-organisms. Biodiversity conservation is crucial for maintaining healthy freshwater ecosystems and supporting indigenous species.
Carrying CapacityThe number of people, animals, or crops that can be supported on a defined section of land without causing environmental degradation
CatchmentThe area of land from which water drains into a common water body, such as a river or lake. Catchment management involves considering all activities within the catchment to minimize negative impacts on water quality.
Catchment managementAn approach to water resource management that considers the entire catchment as a unit of operation. It aims to balance land and water management to ensure sustainable resource use and prevent pollution.
Climatic limitationsEnvironmental constraints imposed by climate-related factors, such as rainfall, temperature, wind, and frost. These limitations influence land use decisions and agricultural practices.
Community water supplyWater is taken primarily for community drinking-water supply, and includes that also used for institutional, industrial, processing, or stockwater purposes or amenity irrigation use and fire-fighting activities. Managing community water supplies involves maintaining water quality standards and safeguarding public health.
Compliance monitoringThe process of monitoring activities authorized by resource consents or regional plans to ensure compliance with established conditions. Monitoring helps identify and address any breaches.
ConditionsSpecific rules and requirements associated with a resource consent. Compliance with these conditions is essential for minimizing adverse environmental impacts and ensuring responsible resource use.
Conservation fencingFencing designed to control grazing and prevent soil erosion. It’s an erosion control practice that helps maintain water quality by preventing sediment runoff from eroded areas.
Conservation tillageA farming practice that involves minimal soil disturbance and maintaining crop residue cover. This approach helps reduce soil erosion and improves water quality by preventing sediment runoff.
ContaminantAny substance that can have adverse effects on water quality or ecosystem health. Contaminants may include chemicals, pathogens, or pollutants that require monitoring and control.
Critical Source Areas (CSA)Critical Source Areas (CSAs) are overland flow paths that carry water and contaminants (soil, phosphorus, pathogens from animal manure) to waterbodies. Identifying and managing critical source areas is crucial for preventing pollution and protecting water quality.
Dairy effluentThe mixture of dung, urine, water, and milking plant wash water generated in dairy milking sheds. Proper disposal and treatment of dairy effluent are necessary to prevent water contamination.
Diffuse dischargePollutants sourced from widespread or dispersed sources (eg, from pasture runoff of animal wastes, fertiliser and sediments, as well as runoff of pollutants from paved surfaces in urban areas). Also called non-point source discharges.
Direct drillingA farming practice where seeds are planted directly into the soil without prior cultivation. This approach reduces soil disturbance and erosion, contributing to improved water quality.
DischargeThe release of contaminants into the environment, whether directly into water bodies or onto land. Managing discharges is crucial for preventing pollution and maintaining water quality.
Dissolved oxygenOxygen dissolved in water, essential for fish and other aquatic life to breathe. Monitoring dissolved oxygen levels helps assess water quality and the health of aquatic ecosystems. Water should be greater than 80 percent saturated with dissolved oxygen for aquatic plants and animals to live in it.