Terminology

Algae 
A very broad group of simple plants (including phytoplankton, and benthic microalgae and macroalgae) that live chiefly in fresh or salt water and are capable of photosynthesis. Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, are included in the term algae for the purposes of this document, although taxonomically speaking they are not strictly algae. (Singular - alga; plural – algae; adjective - algal.)  
 
Ambient 
Referring to the background environmental condition.  
 
Anaerobic 
Without oxygen; occurring or living in the absence of oxygen.  
 
Anoxic
A total depletion in the level of oxygen (hypoxic), often resulting in permanent damage

Aquatic 
Consisting of, relating to, or being in water.  
 
Average Dry Weather Flow (ADWF) 
The average daily amount of water flowing through a system (often wastewater treatment) during dry weather. Abbreviated as ADWF. The ADWF is usually calculated according to a defined rain-free period. Sometimes referred to in terms of annual ADWF, which is 365 times the daily ADWF.  
 
Baseflow 
The flow of water entering stream channels from groundwater sources.  
 
Beneficial Reuse 

The recovery of used materials for subsequent uses that deliver a net environmental benefit.  
 
Biodiversity 
The number and variety of living organisms; includes genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecological diversity (same as biological diversity).  
 
Bioretention System
Vegetated or landscape area that filters stormwater vertically through soil like filter media to remove pollutants and manage waterway hydrology (see also Raingarden)

Bloom 
An event in which a biotic population rapidly expands.  
 
Brownfield
A tract of land that has been developed for industrial purposes, polluted, and then abandoned

Business As Usual (BAU) scenario 
A scenario considered during a computer modelling exercise that assumes no significant investment in catchment management activities beyond those already approved or considered normal practice at the date of running the model.  
 
Catchment 
An area of land bounded by natural features such as hills, from which drainage flows to a common point, usually ending in a river or creek and eventually the sea.  
 
Channel Erosion 
The wearing away of the land, chiefly by rain and running water; occurs in gullies and along stream banks, especially where riparian vegetation is degraded.  
 
Constructed Wetland
A man made structure purposely built to carry out the functions of a naturally occurring wetland by removing pollutants from either stormwater or wastewater.

Cyanobacteria 
Primitive, photosynthetic bacteria occurring as a single cell or in filaments, some of which are often capable of nitrogen fixing; often referred to as blue-green algae.  

Diffuse Source Pollution 
Non-point sources of pollution such as sediment or nutrients from catchment runoff, groundwater inputs or atmospheric fall-out.  

Decision Support Tool
Mathematical modelling used by Healthy Waterways members to investigate cause and effect relationships to support management decisions.

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.  
 
Ecosystem Services 
Benefits people obtain from ecosystems.  
 
Enabling Action Target (EAT) 
Targets related to enabling actions, namely those actions that facilitate the achievement of issue-based and area-based Action Plan Targets. Topics include: communication, education and motivation; aquatic ecosystem health monitoring; and management strategy evaluation.  

Estuarine 
The tidal part of a river where sea water mixes with fresh water.  
 
Event Monitoring 
Measures the representative or average pollutant concentration values for storm events for each of the three pollutants (Total Suspended Solids, Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus).  

Greenfield 
A parcel of land not previously developed beyond that of agriculture or forestry use; virgin land. In the SEQ Regional Plan: “Areas of undeveloped land in the Urban Footprint suitable for urban development”.  

Greywater 
Wastewater from baths, showers and laundries. It does not include wastewater from toilets or food preparation areas.  

Groundwater 
Water in the saturated zone beneath the land surface.  
 
Gully Erosion 
The process whereby narrow channels (generally with a depth greater than 30 centimetres) are eroded into a hill slope by surface water flows.  
 
Harmful Algal Bloom 
Algal blooms that pose a threat to human health or the environment.  
 
Healthy Waterways Vision 
Healthy waterways for a healthy economy.

High Ecological Value (HEV) waterways 
Effectively unmodified or other highly valued systems, typically (but not always) occurring in national parks, conservation reserves or in remote and/or inaccessible locations. While there are no aquatic ecosystems in Australia and New Zealand that are entirely without some human influence, the ecological integrity of high conservation/ecological value systems is regarded as intact (ANZECC 2000; 3.1–10).  

Indirect Potable Reuse 
The introduction of highly treated water to existing untreated drinking water storages that are or will be used for public water supplies, or to recharge groundwater used as a source of domestic water supply.  
 
Infill Development 
New development that occurs within established urban areas where the site or area is either vacant or has previously been used for another urban purpose. The scale of development can range from the creation of one additional residential lot to a major mixed-use redevelopment. 

Lyngbya

A marine cyanobacteria (toxic algae) that can cause skin irritations in some people. While it occurs naturally in Moreton Bay, it often blooms in seagrass meadows outcompeting the seagrass for space and light. 

Marine Debris

Any persistent, manufactured or processed solid material that is discarded or lost into the marine or freshwater environment (UNEP, 2012) and is comprised primarily of plastics.   

Nature Deficit Disorder
Refers to a hypothesis that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioural problems.

Nuisance Algal Bloom 
Algal bloom that is not known to produce toxins, but causes nuisance, principally to amenity.  
 
Nutrient Load 
An estimate of the total amount of a nutrient (nitrogen or phosphorus) entering a waterway over a particular time interval (units of N or P per year).  

Offsite stormwater quality solution
A type of stormwater treatment wetland constructed by a council that has collected payment from developers in lieu of managing stormwater on-site, and use this money to implement equivalent outcomes.

Peri-Urban 
The space that lies immediately outside of the existing urban area extending into the non-urban hinterland and encompassing the Moreton Bay Islands.  
 
Plastic Pollution
Involves the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, habitats and/or humans.

Point Source Pollution
A single point of pollutant discharge. For example, effluent from a sewage treatment plant or an industrial wastewater treatment plant.  
 
Raingarden
Vegetated or landscape area that filters stormwater vertically through soil like filter media to remove pollutants and manage waterway hydrology (see also Bioretention System)

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.  
 
Resource Condition Target (RCT) 
Quantifiable performance levels or changes in level to be achieved within 10-20 years.  
 
Reverse Osmosis 
A water treatment process whereby dissolved salts, such as sodium, chloride, calcium carbonate, and calcium sulphate may be separated from water by forcing the water through a semi-permeable membrane under high pressure. The water diffuses through the membrane and the dissolved salts remain behind on the surface of the membrane.  
 
Riparian 

Of or pertaining to the bank of a river; beside or along the bank of a river, pond or small lake.  
 
Scouring 
Severe erosion by water.  

Sediment 
Sediment are particles that are washed off the land into waterways and come in all shapes and sizes - from larger sand particles to smaller mud, clay and silt particles. Too much sediment can cause harm to the plants and animals that live in our waterways.

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.  
 
Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) 
A facility where sewage is treated and many of the solids and nutrients are removed before the left-over liquid (effluent) is discharged into waterways or reused. Also referred to as a wastewater treatment plant.  
 
Stormwater Harvesting
The collection, accumulation, treatment or purification and storing of stormwater for its eventual reuse.

Storythread
An educational narrative or plot that uses a range of engaging stories and roles to enable students to make deep connections to themselves, others and natural places.

Total Water Cycle Management 
Total water cycle management recognises the finite limits to a region’s water resources and assumes greater importance as the level of demand approaches those limits. It is a holistic approach to balancing the competing demands placed on water resources, so as to meet defined water quantity and quality objectives, including those relating to the role of water in the environment. The key principles of total water cycle management include: recognising all potential sources of water, including wastewater and stormwater; using all water sources sustainably; allocating and using water equitably; and integrating water use and natural water processes, including maintaining environmental flows and water quality.  

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) 
A wholistic approach to the planning, design, construction and retrofitting of urban development that aims to minimise negative impacts on the natural water cycle and protect the health of aquatic ecosystems. It promotes the integration of stormwater, water supply and sewage management within a development precinct.  

Waterway 
A passage for water or a body of water, including all orders of perennial and ephemeral streams (lined or unlined), rivers and other wetlands, and bays. Includes Moreton Bay and all estuaries, marine waters and foreshores.  
 
Wetland 
Wetlands are areas of permanent or periodic/intermittent inundation, with water that is static or flowing fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed 6 metres. To be a wetland the area must have one or more of the following attributes:

  • at least periodically the land supports plants or animals that are adapted to and dependent on living in wet conditions for at least part of their life cycle, or
  • the substratum is predominantly undrained soils that are saturated, flooded or ponded long enough to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper layers, or
  • the substratum is not soil and is saturated with water, or covered by water at some time.