• Acidity
    Measure of the relative acidity or alkalinity of water: water with a pH of 7 is neutral, lower pH levels indicate increasing acidity, while pH levels higher than 7 indicate alkalinity
  • Adaptation
    Initiatives and measures to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems against actual or expected climate change effects
  • Adaptive capacity
    The potential or ability of a system, region or community to adapt to the effects or impacts of a particular set of changes. Enhancement of adaptive capacity represents a practical mean of coping with changes and uncertainties, reducing vulnerabilities an
  • Advocacy
    Process undertaken by an individual or group, which normally aims to influence public policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic and social systems and institutions; it may be motivated from moral, ethical or faith principles or s
  • Agenda 21
    Global programme adopted by the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Agenda 21 contains principles and recommendations aiming at sustainable development for the 21st century
  • Alkalinity
    Measure of the relative acidity or alkalinity of water: water with a pH of 7 is neutral, lower pH levels indicate increasing acidity, while pH levels higher than 7 indicate alkalinity
  • Allocation
    To set aside a specific amount of water for a particular purpose or use (for the hydrologic system in which there are multiple uses or demands for water)
  • Alluvial groundwater
    Groundwater that is connected to a surface stream, usually in permeable rock, broken rock and gravel
  • Alluvium
    Deposits of sand, silt, clay, gravel or other particulate material that has been deposited by a stream or other body of running water in a streambed, on a flood plain, on a delta, or at the base of a mountain
  • Anglophone
    English-language speaking people or location
  • Aquaculture
    Farming of plants and animals that live in water, e.g., fish, shellfish and algae
  • Aquatic
    Plant and animal life growing in water, living in water, or frequenting water
  • Aqueduct
    Man-made canal or pipeline used to transport water
  • Aqueous
    Something made up of water
  • Aquifer
    Underground layers of permeable rock, sediment or soil filled with water and interconnected, so the water stays within or flows through them. The two major types of aquifers are confined and unconfined
  • Area/sub-national Water Partnership
    Water partnerships at a basin, district or other sub-national level within a country
  • Artesian water
    Groundwater that is under pressure when tapped by a well and is able to rise above the level at which first encountered. It can flow out at ground level, but does not always do so. The water pressure is commonly called artesian pressure, and the formation
  • Artesian well
    A well in which water under natural pressure rises to the surface without being pumped
  • Artificial recharge
    Process in which water is channelled from surface water supplies back into groundwater storage; the water can then be drawn from irrigation or induced infiltration from streams or wells
  • Associated Programme
    Programmes that have been initiated specifically (Cap-Net for example), or existing programmes identified (Flood Management for example), to support GWP water partnerships in regions and countries.
  • Base flow
    The amount of water in a stream that results from groundwater discharge
  • Basin
    A river or lake basin is the area bounded by the watersheds of a system of streams and rivers that flow towards the same outlet. In the case of rivers this is generally the sea, but may be an inland water body, such as a lake or swamp
  • Best management practices (BMPs)
    measures applied to management activities to help ensure water efficiency and decrease water use
  • Biofuel
    Type of fuel whose energy is derived from biomass (biological carbon fixation), e.g. from plant starch, sugar or oil or from animal fat
  • Blue Book
    Tool that promotes exchange, dialogue and mobilization of stakeholders involved in managing water resources and services, in order to promote large-scale projects in partnership with decision makers, civil society and the private sector
  • Blue water
    Fresh surface and groundwater, i.e. the water in freshwater lakes, rivers and aquifers
  • Borehole
    Narrow shaft driven into the ground, either vertically or horizontally, to obtain water. A borehole may be constructed for many different purposes, including the extraction of water, oil or gas
  • Brackish
    Water that contains too much salt to be useful to people, but that is less salty than seawater
  • Capacity building
    The actions needed to enhance the ability of individuals, institutions and systems to make and implement decisions and perform functions in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner
  • Capacity development
    The process by which individuals, groups and organisations, institutions and countries develop, enhance and organise their systems, resources and knowledge
  • Capillary action
    The process by which water rises through rock, sediment or soil; it is caused by cohesion between water molecules and adhesion between water and other materials; together, these forces pull the water upwards
  • Carbon sink
    Natural or artificial reservoir that accumulates and stores carbon-containing chemical compounds for an indefinite period. The process by which carbon sinks remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is known as carbon sequestration
  • Catchment
    Drainage area (see Basin)
  • Chlorination
    Treatment of drinking water with chlorine to kill disease-causing organisms
  • Civil society organization
    The multitude of associations around which society voluntarily organizes itself and which represent a wide range of interests and ties. These can include community-based organizations, indigenous peoples’ organizations and non-government organizations
  • Climate Change
    A change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods
  • Climate change adaptation
    Initiatives and measures to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems against the actual or expected effects of climate change
  • Climate change screening
    A way of assessing the impacts of climate change on development activities, and how these linkages can be taken into account in development activities and national planning processes
  • Consulting Partners
    Partner representatives at the annual meeting of Partners. The term Consulting Partners (CP) is only applied to the annual meeting of Partners, the “CP Meeting”.
  • Cost effective
    Obtaining the best results for least expense or offering the maximum benefit for a given level of expenditure that provides good value for money
  • Cost recovery
    Adjusting fees/prices for a water system where all costs of operation and maintenance are covered for supplying water or services
  • Country Water Partnership
    A water partnership at a national level
  • Dam
    Structure built to hold back a flow of water
  • Delta
    Fan-shaped area at the mouth of a river formed by deposition of sediments
  • Demand management
    Measures taken to predict and meet consumer demand for environmentally sensitive goods such as water, e.g. through activities that alter water use
  • Depletion
    The loss of water from surface water reservoirs or groundwater aquifers due to usage at a greater rate than they are recharged
  • Deposition
    The gradual dropping or laying down of matter by a natural process, or getting rid of sediments as performed by an agent of erosion, such as a river or glacier; also called sedimentation
  • Desalination
    The process of removing salt from seawater or brackish water
  • Desertification
    Land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities
  • Developed water
    Water that is produced or brought into a water system through the efforts of people (where it would not have entered the water system on its own accord)
  • Disbursement
    The action of paying out money
  • Discharge
    The amount of water flowing past a location in a river or stream in a certain amount of time; usually expressed in volumes (liters per second or gallons per minute)
  • Drainage basin
    All the land that serves as the drainage area of a specific stream or river; See Basin
  • Drip irrigation
    Common method of irrigation, in which water trickles slowly through pipes or tubes onto crops. Drip irrigation is a low-pressure method of irrigation with the advantage that less water is lost to evaporation than with high-pressure spray
  • Drought
    The naturally occurring phenomenon that exists when precipitation has been significantly below normal recorded levels, causing serious hydrological imbalances that adversely affect land resource production systems
  • Ecosystem
    A dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit
  • Effluent
    In issues of water quality, refers to liquid waste (treated or untreated) discharged to the environment from sources such as industrial process and sewage treatment plants
  • Environmental goods and services
    Refers to actions and products derived from human activity rather than benefits obtained directly from the natural environment
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
    An analytical process or procedure that systematically examines the possible environmental consequences of the implementation of a given activity (project)
  • Eutrophication
    Increased inputs of nutrients (e.g. nitrogen and phosphorus) from agricultural runoff and also human and industrial waste into water bodies leading to excessive plant (principally algae) growth and decay
  • Financing Partners Group
    Donors to the GWPO and the GWP Network
  • Food Security
    Physical and economic access, at all times, to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life
  • Forestry
    Management of forested land, together with associated waters and wasteland, primarily for harvesting timber but also for conservation and recreation purposes
  • Geographic information system (GIS)
    GIS integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.
  • Green water
    The precipitation on land that does not run off or recharge the groundwater but is stored in the soil or temporarily stays on top of the soil or vegetation
  • Grey water
    Wastewater other than sewage, such as sink drainage or washing machine discharge
  • GWPO
    Global Water Partnership Organization. The intergovernmental organisation established in Sweden that comprises the global secretriat, its Steering Committee, and the Technical Committee.
  • Hydrologic cycle
    The cycle that water through its natural process of evaporation and precipitation: from the sea, through the atmosphere, to the land and back to the sea
  • Hydrosphere
    Discontinuous layer of water at or near the Earth’s surface. It includes all liquid and frozen surface waters, groundwater held in soil and rock, and atmospheric water vapour
  • Information management systems
    The term for a range of electronic systems that arrange, store and exchange data and information. These electronic systems replace more traditional printed catalogues
  • Integrated Flood Management
    Integrated Flood Management is a process promoting an integrated – rather than fragmented – approach to flood management
  • Integrated resource planning
    The management of two or more resources in the same general area, such as water, soil, timber, grazing land, fish, wildlife and recreation
  • Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)
    IWRM is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximize economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of ecosystems.
  • Land degradation
    A human induced or natural process which negatively affects the land to function effectively within an ecosystem, by accepting, storing and recycling water, energy, and nutrients
  • Land use
    Refers to the total of arrangements, activities and inputs, people undertake in a certain land cover type to produce, change or maintain it
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
    A list of 10 goals (including eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, improving maternal health and ensure environmental sustainability) adopted by the UN General Assembly
  • Mitigation
    Structural and non-structural measures undertaken to limit the adverse impact of natural hazards, environmental degradation and technological hazards
  • National IWRM Plan
    Sets out a national strategy that identifies the priority steps that must be taken to reform the water management system to meet IWRM principles
  • Non Governmental Organization
    Voluntary group of individuals or organizations, usually not affiliated with any government, that is formed to provide services or to advocate a public policy
  • Participatory Approach
    Securing an adequate and equal opportunity for people to place questions on the agenda and to express their preferences about the final outcome during decision making to all group members
  • Partners
    Ordinary institutions around the world that have signed the Partner application form and approved as Partners of the GWP Network by the GWPO Executive Secretary
  • Policy
    Any form of intervention or societal response. This includes not only statements of intent, such as a water policy or forest policy, but also other forms of intervention, such as the use of economic instruments, market creation, subsidies etc.
  • Provincial Water Partnership
    As China is so large, it is considered as a region and water partnerships have been established at provincial level equivalent to country water partnerships.
  • Regional Water Partnership
    A water partnership at a regional level
  • Resilience
    The capacity of a system, community or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure
  • River Basin Organization
    GWP has established one Water Partnership at basin level, the Yellow River Water Partnership in China. All other RBOs have been established in, or among countries, that see a need to manage their water resources on a basin wide approach.
  • Sponsoring Partners
    Those governments, inter-government and international agencies that signed the Agreement that GWP become an Intergovernmental Organization.
  • Steering Committee
    A board of directors that oversee the GWPO or the RWP.
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
    SEA is undertaken for plans, programmes and policies. It helps decision makers reach a better understanding of how environmental, social and economic considerations fit together
  • Sustainable Development
    Paths of progress which meet the needs and aspirations of present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
  • Sustainable sanitation
    The purpose of sustainable sanitation systems is the closing of the water and nutrients cycles
  • Technical Committee
    A group of global experts who contribute technical leadership and resources to the GWP Network.
  • The Ramsar Convention
    An intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources
  • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD)
    Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
    The Convention was adopted on 9 May 1992 in New York and signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro by more than 150 countries and the European Community
  • Vulnerability
    Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes.
  • Water borne diseases
    Disease that arises from infected water and is transmitted when the water is used for drinking or cooking for example, cholera or typhoid
  • Water Footprint
    The water footprint is an indicator of freshwater use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer
  • Water Governance
    The political, administrative, economic and social systems that exist to manage water resources and services and is essential in order to manage water resources sustainably and provide access to water services for domestic or productive purposes
  • Water right
    A water right is the right to use water - not to own it. Good water law recognises and acknowledges existing uses and rights, including customary uses and aboriginal entitlements
  • Water scarcity
    Occurs when annual water supplies drop below 1 000 m3 per person, or when more than 40 per cent of available water is used
  • Water Security
    The availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of water for health, livelihoods, ecosystems and production, coupled with an acceptable level of water-related risks to people, environments and economies
  • Water supply
    The share of water abstraction which is supplied to users (excluding losses in storage, conveyance and distribution)
  • Wetlands
    Areas that are inundated by surface or ground water with frequency sufficient to support a prevalence of vegetative or aquatic life that requires saturated or seasonally saturated soil conditions for growth or reproduction