Understanding water words - glossary

Making sense of the terminology

Introduction

This glossary lists common words and terms used when we talk about water sensitive cities.

Click on any term to find its definition. You’ll also find other useful information related to that term, such as alternative words, related topics and useful resources.

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Alternative water supplies

Definition: Water supplied from a diverse range of alternative sources including stormwater, recycled water, rainwater, desalination and groundwater. These sources provide an alternative to conventional water sources such as dams.

Alternative words: Water for purpose, Fit for purpose water, Purpose-specific water treatment, Repurpose water, Urban stormwater, Stormwater runoff

Related terms: Biofiltration, Fit for purpose water, Raingardens, Stormwater management, Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Green infrastructure, Groundwater, Managed aquifer recharge, Operation and Maintenance, Rainwater and stormwater harvesting, Stormwater treatment, Water sensitive homes and buildings, Water sensitive streets and carparks, Wastewater management and recycling

Useful resources:

Biofiltration

Definition: The process of improving stormwater (or wastewater) quality and reducing stormwater volumes and runoff frequency through physical filtering, chemical binding, and biological processing and uptake of pollutants (e.g. suspended solids, chemicals, pathogens). Constructed biological treatment systems, referred to as biofilters, use soil and vegetation to mitigate the impacts of increased stormwater runoff associated with urbanisation on the natural environment (particularly waterways). Biofilters integrated with the urban landscape can also contribute to urban cooling and amenity.

You can go to our Communicating water words and visuals page, to find out how to use this term in your communications material.

Alternative words: Pollution control, Bioretention systems, Raingardens, Biofiltration systems

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Raingardens, Stormwater management, Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Green infrastructure, Operation and Maintenance, Rainwater and stormwater harvesting, Stormwater treatment, Water sensitive homes and buildings, Water sensitive streets and carparks

Useful resources:

Fit-for-purpose water

Definition: Fit-for-purpose water production provides water supply to meet the demands for water of various quality levels, based on its use (e.g. potable or non-potable)

You can go to our Communicating water words and visuals page, to find out how to use this term in your communications material.

Alternative words: Alternative water supply, Purpose-specific water, Repurpose water

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Biofiltration, Raingardens, Stormwater treatment, Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Green infrastructure, Groundwater, Operation and Maintenance, Rainwater and stormwater harvesting, Stormwater treatment, Water sensitive homes and buildings, Water sensitive streets and carparks, Wastewater management and recycling

Useful resources:

Green infrastructure

Definition: The public and private green spaces in our cities that can provide a range of water cycle benefits if they are managed as an integrated system. These green spaces range in scale from single trees in a city street to golf courses, parks and waterway corridors that can shape the urban landscape. Some are natural, such as areas of remnant native vegetation, while others are more engineered, such as green roofs, green walls, biofilters and raingardens.

You can go to our Communicating water words and visuals page, to find out how to use this term in your communications material.

Alternative words: Sustainable and resilient infrastructure

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Biofiltration, Raingardens, Stormwater treatment, Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Green infrastructure, Groundwater, Operation and Maintenance, Rainwater and stormwater harvesting, Stormwater treatment, Wastewater management and recycling, Water sensitive homes and buildings, Urban waterways

Useful resources:

Greywater

Definition: Wastewater discharges from washing basins, baths and showers

Alternative words: Sullage, Light greywater, Light wastewater

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Wastewater management and recycling, Water sensitive homes and buildings

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Wastewater management and recycling, Water sensitive homes and buildings

Useful resources:

Integrated urban water management (IUWM)

Definition: The managed hydrological cycles and systems of a water sensitive city. IUWM seeks to change the impact of urban development on the natural water cycle, based on the premise that by managing the urban water cycle as a whole, a more efficient use of resources can be achieved, providing not only economic benefits but also improved social and environmental outcomes (Barton et al. 2009). IUWM builds on existing water supply and sanitation considerations within urban areas by incorporating water resources and their uses that lie outside of the piped supply and wastewater systems.

Alternative words: Urban water management, Water cycle management, Integrated water management, Integrated water resource management, Integrated water cycle management

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Water Sensitive City, Urban water cycle

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Water sensitive precincts

Useful resources:

Liveability

Definition: Factors that improve the ‘quality of life’ or ‘wellbeing’ of the inhabitants of a city or place

Alternative words: Liveable cities

Related terms: Water sensitive city

Related topics: Amenity and urban greening, Water sensitive parks and open spaces, Water sensitive precincts, Waterway naturalisation

Useful resources:

Raingarden

Definition: An innovative water sensitive urban design (WSUD) element whereby a specifically designed garden captures stormwater from hard surfaces, such as driveways, patios and roofs via downpipes, then treats it for reuse

You can go to our Communicating water words and visuals page, to find out how to use this term in your communications material.

Alternative words: Biofilter

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Biofiltration, Green infrastructure, Stormwater management, water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Green infrastructure, Operation and Maintenance, Rainwater and stormwater harvesting, Stormwater treatment, Water sensitive homes and buildings

Useful resources:

Recycled water

Definition: Greywater or sewage that is treated, stored and reused for non-potable uses

You can go to our Communicating water words and visuals page, to find out how to use this term in your communications material.

Alternative words: Treated greywater, Treated sewage

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Wastewater management and recycling, Water sensitive homes and buildings

Useful resources:

Resilient city

Definition: A city that has communities, individuals, institutions, businesses and systems that are able to grow, develop, adapt, progress, recover and sustain in the face of challenges and drivers such as climate change, population growth, climate variability, urbanisation, and changing economic and institutional conditions1

Related terms: Water sensitive city

Related topics: Community engagement, Governance and policy, Flood resilience, Leadership and influence, Regulation and legislation, Urban planning (statutory, strategic, land use), Water literacy and behaviour change

Useful resources:

 

1 http://100resilientcities.org/resources/

Scenario Tool

Definition: A CRCWSC planning support tool that enables users to assess the evolution of urban infrastructure, water networks and population demographics over time

Alternative words: Urban planning-support tool

Related terms: CRCWSC Modelling Toolkit, DAnCE4Water

Related topics: Benchmarking and decision support, Design and implementation, Green infrastructure, Monitoring and evaluation, Urban planning (statutory, strategic, land use)

Useful resources:

Sponge city

Definition: A city that is designed to passively absorb, clean and use rainfall in an ecologically friendly way that reduces dangerous and polluted runoff. Also, a city that has the capacity to mainstream urban water management into urban planning policies and designs

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Integrated urban water management (IUWM), Resilience, Stormwater management

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Flood resilience, Governance and policy, Green infrastructure, Operation and Maintenance, Rainwater and stormwater harvesting, Stormwater treatment, Water sensitive homes and buildings, Urban planning (statutory, strategic, land use)

Useful resources:

Stormwater

Definition: Water generated predominantly from impervious surfaces (roofs, roads, footpaths and other hard surfaces) as a result of rainfall events. Rainwater (water originating from roofs) is a component of stormwater. The collection, treatment, storage and use of stormwater is referred to as stormwater harvesting.

You can go to our Communicating water words and visuals page, to find out how to use this term in your communications material.

Alternative words: Rainwater

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Biofiltration, Green infrastructure, Raingardens, Stormwater management, Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Governance and policy, Green infrastructure, Operation and Maintenance, Rainwater and stormwater harvesting, Stormwater treatment, Water sensitive homes and buildings, Water sensitive parks and open spaces, Water sensitive streets and carparks, Urban waterways

Useful resources:

Transition

Definition: A fundamental shift in cultures, structures and practices as society changes from one pattern of socio-technological development to another (usually more sustainable) pattern

Related terms: Transition Dynamics Framework, Transition Pathways Framework, Urban Water Transitions Framework

Related topics: Community engagement, Governance and policy, Leadership and influence, Water literacy and behaviour change

Useful resources:

Transition Dynamics Framework

Definition: A module within the CRCWSC’s Water Sensitive Cities Transition Planning Process focused on identifying priority strategies for advancing the transition to water sensitive practices. The framework conceptualises how systemwide changes in practice (e.g. the transition to water sensitive practices) unfold over time, based on the establishment of key enabling factors: individual and organisational champions, platforms for connecting, science and knowledge, projects and applications, and tools and instruments

Related terms: Transition, Transition Pathways Framework, Urban Water Transitions Framework

Related topics: Benchmarking and decision support, Community engagement, Governance and policy, Leadership and influence, Training and capacity building, Water literacy and behaviour change

Useful resources:

Transition Pathways Framework

Definition: A CRCWSC framework for identifying three key pathways along which change needs to be pursued if cities and regions want to move towards more water sensitive systems and communities. The three pathways are enabling structures (the broader social, political and economic framework in which urban water management takes place), on-ground practices (what gets done on the ground to deliver Water Sensitive City outcomes), and socio-political capital (support for pursuing the Water Sensitive City goals).

Related terms: Transition, Transition Dynamics Framework, Urban Water Transitions Framework, Water sensitive cities

Related topics: Benchmarking and decision support

Useful resources:

Urban heat island effect (UHI)

Definition: The effect of a localised increase in heat (temperature) within urban areas relative to surrounding natural or rural environments, as a result of the greater amount of impervious surfaces and thermal mass within those urban areas. Heat mitigation actions, such as increasing green spaces, limits the magnitude and/or rate of warming within urban environments.

You can go to our Communicating water words and visuals page, to find out how to use this term in your communications material.

Alternative words: City climate, City heat, Inner city warming, Urban heat island effect

Related terms: Green infrastructure, Microclimate

Related topics: Green infrastructure, Monitoring and evaluation, Mitigating climate change impacts, Urban heat island mitigation

Useful resources:

Urban metabolism

Definition: The process of resources flowing through and being transformed and consumed within an urban entity, to sustain all the technical and socio-economic processes that occur within in it

Alternative words: City water and energy flows, City metabolism

Related terms: Urban water cycle, Urban water mass balance

Related topics: Urban metabolism, Urban waterways

Useful resources:

Urban water cycle

Definition: The natural and anthropomorphic movement and use of water within a city, including rainfall, stormwater flows, evapotranspiration, groundwater movement, water supply and use, wastewater collection, storage, treatment, recycling and disposal

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Integrated urban water management (IUWM), stormwater management, Urban metabolism, Urban water mass balance

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Groundwater, Rain and stormwater harvesting, Stormwater treatment, Urban metabolism, Urban waterways, Wastewater management and recycling, Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Useful resources:

Urban water mass balance

Definition: In the context of hydrology, an equation that describes the flow of water in and out of an entity/system (sum of the inflow = sum of the outflows and the change in storage), with the change in storage acting as a check for the conservation of mass. The concept of the urban water mass balance is a useful starting point for understanding the water performance of an urban area. It quantifies all water flows through an urban area, in both the natural water cycle and the urban water cycle, to show how they are influenced by urban development.

Related terms: Integrated urban water management (IUWM), Urban metabolism, Urban water cycle

Related topics: Urban metabolism, Urban planning (statutory, strategic, land use), Urban waterways

Useful resources:

Urban water Transitions Framework

Definition: A framework that conceptualises six different forms of urban water servicing as a city responds to evolving drivers: Water Supply City, Sewered City, Drained City, Waterways City, Water Cycle City, and Water Sensitive City

Alternative words: City states continuum

Related terms: Water Sensitive City

Related topics: Benchmarking and decision support

Useful resources:

Wastewater

Definition: Greywater and sewage discharged from a variety of sources including domestic, industrial, commercial and agricultural waste

Alternative words: Greywater or Sullage, Black water (sewage discharge)

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Wastewater management and recycling, Water sensitive homes and buildings

Useful resources:

Water Sensitive City

Definition: A place that:

  • serves as a potential water supply catchment, providing a range of different water sources at a range of different scales, and for a range of different uses
  • provides ecosystem services and a healthy natural environment, thereby offering a range of social, ecological and economic benefits
  • consists of water sensitive communities where citizens have the knowledge and desire to make wise choices about water, are actively engaged in decision making, and demonstrate positive behaviours.

You can go to our Communicating water words and visuals page, to find out how to use this term in your communications material.

Alternative words: Waterwise city, Ecocity, Water friendly and water conscious city

Related terms: Integrated urban water management (IUWM), Liveability, Resilience, Urban Water Transitions Framework, Water Sensitive Cities Index

Related topics: All topics on our website are relevant: go to topics web page)

Useful resources:

Water Sensitive Cities Index

Definition: A CRCWSC tool to benchmark and diagnose the water sensitive performance of a place (from the municipal to metropolitan scale), based on 34 indicators under seven water sensitive goals: good water sensitive governance, community capital, equity of essential services, productivity and resource efficiency, ecological health, quality urban space, and adaptive infrastructure

Alternative words: Water Sensitive Cities Benchmarking

Related terms: Water Sensitive City, Urban Water Transition Framework

Related topics: Benchmarking and decision support

Useful resources:

Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

Definition: An approach to the planning and design of urban environments focused on integrating the urban water cycle (including potable water, wastewater and stormwater) with the built and natural urban landscape. It is linked to ecologically sustainable development, with a focus on the sustainable management of urban water resources and environmental protection, and the enhancement of socio-cultural conditions.

Alternative words: Low impact development, Sustainable urban drainage systems, Best management practices, Green infrastructure

Related terms: Alternative water supplies, Biofiltration, Green infrastructure, Raingardens, Stormwater management, Urban water cycle

Related topics: Alternative water supplies, Design and implementation, Green infrastructure, Groundwater, Operation and Maintenance, Rainwater and stormwater harvesting, Stormwater treatment, Wastewater management and recycling, Water sensitive homes and buildings, Water sensitive streets and carparks, Urban planning (statutory, strategic, land use), Urban waterways

Useful resources:

Contact

Do you have a term that you would like to see listed here?

Please email us at: admin@crcwsc.org.au to let us know.

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