Telephone: 1.306.343.9549

The SSRWSI is a

grassroots, community driven, non-profit organization working within the watershed to implement programs and initiatives that will protect the water resource.


Contact us

2366 Avenue C North
(Norplex Business Centre)
Saskatoon, SK S7L 5X5

Telephone: 1.306.343.9549


Terms Related to Watersheds and Water Management

| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |   Acronyms




Adverse Effect
Impairment of or damage to the environment, human health or safety, or property.

The amount of water assigned for use, out of a total amount that is available for use in a particular watershed or aquifer.

Consisting of, relating to or being in water; living or growing in, on or near water.

 A geological formation containing groundwater, which is capable of yielding usable quantities of water for wells and springs.







The many and varied species of life forms on earth, including plants, animals, micro-organisms, the genes they possess and their habitats.


Beneficial Management Practices (BMP)
Management practices that reduce social, economic, and environmental negative impacts.




Canadian Heritage River
Designation assigned to a river by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, with the objective of conserving and protecting the best examples of Canada's river heritage, giving them national recognition, and encouraging the public to enjoy and appreciate them.


Meteorological elements (e.g. precipitation, temperature, radiation, wind, cloudiness) that characterize the conditions of the atmosphere over long periods of time at a location or region of the earth’s surface.

Climate change
 An alteration in measured meteorological conditions that significantly differs from previous conditions and is seen to endure, bringing about corresponding changes in ecosystems and socio-economic activities.


1. The planning, management, and implementation of an activity with the objective of protecting the
essential physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the environment against degradation.
2. The process of managing biological resources (e.g., timber, fish) to ensure replacement by re-growth
or reproduction of the part harvested before another harvest occurs. A balance between economic
growth and environmental and natural resource protection.

A substance that, in a sufficient concentration, will render water, land, fish, or other things unusable or

Cumulative Effects
The combined effects on the aquatic environment or human developments arising from the combined
environmental impacts of several individual projects.



A barrier constructed on a water body for storage, control, or diversion purposes.

Building, engineering, mining or other operations that alter or intensify the use of a resource.


Refers to the outflow, and is used as a measure of the rate at which a volume of water passes a given


 The removal of water from any waterbody, watercourse or aquifer (either for use or storage), including the removal of water for drainage purposes.

Runoff of water from the landscape, including both natural patterns and human-induced water movement.


Drinking Water (potable water)
Water that has been treated to provincial standards and is fit for human consumption.

Periods of less than average precipitation over a certain period of time. Drought is naturally occurring
and can cause imbalances in the hydrologic system that results in biological or economic losses.


is a general term for a formal process to remove something from active status (Well Decommissioning).






Pertains to the relationship between living organisms and their environments.

Economic development
The process of using and converting resources into wealth, jobs and an enhanced quality of life.

 A community of interdependent organisms together with the environment they inhabit and with which they interact.


The components of the earth, including air, land, and water, all layers of the atmosphere, organic and
inorganic matter, living organisms, and their interacting natural systems.

Effective Drainage Area
The area which is estimated to contribute runoff in at least half of the years.

The treated wastewater discharged into the environment.

The natural breakdown and movement of soil and rock by water, wind, or ice. The process may be
accelerated by human activities.


The process by which lakes and ponds become enriched with dissolved nutrients, either from natural
sources or human activities. Nutrient enrichment may cause an increased growth of algae and other
microscopic plants, the decay of which can cause decreased dissolved oxygen levels.




Fish Habitat
Spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply and migration areas on which fish depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes.


An overflow of water onto lands that are used or usable by man and not normally covered by water.
Floods have two essential characteristics: it is temporary; and the land is adjacent to and inundated by
overflow from a river, stream, lake, or ocean.

Of or pertaining to rivers and streams.





Originating from the local community or ordinary people.

Grazing Management
Activities that ensure stocking rates are appropriate to sustain long-term health of livestock grazing conditions during wet and dry seasons.

Gross Drainage Area
The area bounded by the height of land between adjacent watersheds.



Water beneath the surface of the ground . It originates from rainfall or snowmelt that penetrates the layer of soil just below the surface.


It is a guide or indication of a future course of action. It describes how something will be accomplished. It may contain numerical performance measures and may deal with multiple uses of water.







An ecological area in which a particular aquatic or wildlife species lives.

A measure of the amount of certain dissolved substances in water, primarily calcium and magnesium.
Concerns with hardness relate mainly to encrustation and excessive soap consumption in water supplies, although it can also influence the form and toxicity of numerous heavy metals.



Small streams and lakes that are the sources of a river, located in the upper reaches of a watershed.


Hydrologic Cycle
The process by which water evaporates from oceans and other bodies of water, accumulates as water
vapor in clouds, and returns to oceans and other bodies of water as rain and snow or as runoff from this
precipitation or groundwater.


The scientific study of the properties, distribution, and circulation of water on the earth’s surface, under the ground, and in the atmosphere.







Storage of water.

The controlled application of water for agricultural purposes through man-made systems to supply water
requirements not satisfied by rainfall.






Land cover 

Predominant vegetation on the surface of a parcel of land.


Land use 

Present use of a given area of land.

A shallow pond where sunlight, bacterial action and oxygen work to purify wastewater; also used for storage of wastewater.





The primary channel of a river or the primary river in a drainage basin.





Native Prairie 
Native plant communities of the prairie and parkland regions that may contain more than 200 types of grasses, flowers and shrubs.

Non-point Source Pollution
Single or multiple contaminants of unknown origin that enter waterways, degrading water quality.

An element essential for plant or animal growth. Major plant nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus,
carbon, oxygen, sulphur, and potassium.





 Co-operative, collaborative alliance between/among stakeholders in a non-legal arrangement used to improve and build relationships and achieve common goals.


Any chemical compound used to control unwanted species that attack crops, animals, or people. This
diverse group of chemicals includes herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides.


A measure of the intensity of the acid or base chemistry of the water. A pH of 7 is neutral, while below 7
is acidic and above 7 is basic. pH in surface water is regulated by the geology and geochemistry of an
area and is affected by biological activity. The distribution of aquatic organisms and the toxicity of some
common pollutants are strongly affected by pH.

Point source contamination 

A static and easily identifiable source of air, soil or water pollution.

A contaminant in a concentration or amount that adversely alters the physical, chemical, or biological
properties of the natural environment.

Potable Water (Drinking Water)
Water that is provided by a waterworks system (private or municipal) and is used for drinking, cooking,
dishwashing, or other domestic purposes requiring water that is suitable for human consumption.





A group of river segments with similar biophysical characteristics. Most river reaches represent simple
streams and rivers, while some reaches represent the shorelines of wide rivers, lakes and coastlines.


Reclaimed Water (Recycled Water)
Water that is utilized after it has fulfilled its primary purpose and before it becomes return flow (leaves the wastewater treatment plan back to a watercourse).


The length, width, depth, slope, or other physical condition that define a body of water.

A man-made lake that collects and stores water for future use. During periods of low river flow, reservoirs can release additional flow if water is available.

An area of land adjacent to or connected with a stream, river, lake or wetland that contains vegetation that is distinctly different from vegetation of adjacent upland areas.

Riparian Area
The zone of vegetation alongside waterways and other surface water. Riparian areas are critical in
reducing the negative effects of various land-uses on adjacent waters.

River Basin
 An area drained by a river that contributes to form a watershed.

Water that moves across (or through) soils on the land during snowmelt or rainstorms.





Eroded soil, rock and plant debris, transported and deposited by water.


The process of material settling out of water.

The waste and wastewater from residential or commercial establishments that is normally discharged into sewers.


Sewage Treatment
The processing of wastewater for the removal or reduction of contained solids or other undesirable

Source Water
Raw/untreated water received for treatment to provide potable water to municipal, industrial or private
users. Sources may include high quality groundwater, groundwater under the influence of surface water
and surface water from lake, stream, river or watercourse.


Source Water Protection
Management of factors and activities that threaten water quality and quantity of lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams and groundwater.

Source Water Protection Plan
Outlines the goals and objectives for source water protection planning and identifies several key areas of interest or issues within the South Saskatchewan River Watershed.

An individual or group with direct or indirect interest in issues or situations, usually involved in understanding and helping resolve or improve their situations.

State of the Watershed Report
A document that identifies the current condition of a watershed including the physical, chemical, and
biological characteristics of its surface and groundwater and the pressures acting on it.

Managing human activities and reducing their impacts so that they protect or enhance our natural environment.

Water discharged from a surface as a result of rainfall or snowfall.

A perspective, position, or plan developed and undertaken to achieve goals. It is the bridge between
policy and concrete actions that outlines how a policy will be implemented to achieve its goals.


Part of a river basin drained by a tributary or with significantly different characteristics than the other
areas of the basin.

Surface Water
Water bodies such as lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers, and streams, as well as groundwater with a direct
and immediate hydrological connection to surface water.


The balancing of opportunities for growth with the need to protect the environment.







To apply any method, technique, or process (including neutralization and stabilization) that is designed to change the physical, chemical, or biological character or composition of a substance, including water.


Treated Wastewater
Effluent/discharge from wastewater treatment plant that meets the quality outlined in the wastewater
treatment plant approval prior to discharge to the receiving environment or the quality specified for reuse.


A stream or river that flows into a main stem (or parent) river or a lake




An area of dry land surrounding or upstream of a waterbody.




A combination of liquid and water-carried pollutants from homes, businesses, industries, or farms; a
mixture of water and dissolved or suspended solids.

Water Body
Any location where water flows or is present, whether or not the flow or the presence of water is
continuous, intermittent, or occurs only during a flood. This includes, but is not limited to, wetlands and

Water Quality
The chemical, physical and biological characteristics of water with respect to its suitability for a specific use.

Water Quality Guidelines
The allowable contaminant concentration in water. Guidelines are used to define water quality according
to the use of the water source. For example, water quality guidelines are developed for drinking water,
agricultural, industrial, and recreational water use and for the protection of aquatic life.

Water Quantity
The volume or amount of water.

Water Table
The top of the saturated zone in the ground, where water fills the spaces in the soil and rock.

Water Well
An opening in the ground, whether drilled or altered from its natural state, that is used for the production
of groundwater, obtaining data on groundwater, or recharging an underground formation from which
groundwater can be recovered.


The area of land that catches precipitation and drains into a larger receiving body of water (ocean or interior lakes)


Watershed Advisory Committee (WAC)

Representatives from urban and rural municipalities, First Nations, and industry, environmental and agricultural interest organizations within their watershed planning area.

 An area of low-lying land covered by water often enough to support aquatic plants and wildlife for part of the life cycle.




AEGP - Agri-Environmental Group Plan
BMP - Beneficial Management Practice
DFO - Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
DUC - Ducks Unlimited Canada
MOE - Ministry of Environment - formerly Saskatchewan Environment (SE).
PCAB - Provincial Council of Agricultural Development and Diversification Boards
PFSRB - Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin
SARA - The Species at Risk Act
SARM - The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities
SAW - Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds
SEIMA - Saskatchewan Environmental Industry and Managers' Association
SES - Saskatchewan Environmental Society
SSRWSI - South Saskatchewan River Watershed Stewards Inc.
SSR - South Saskatchewan River
SSRB - South Saskatchewan River Basin
SUMA - Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association
SWA - Saskatchewan Watershed AuthorityS

SWWA - Saskatchewan Water and Waste Water Association
THREATS - The Healthy River Ecosystem AssessmenT System

WAC - Watershed Advisory Committee
WCW - Western Canada Water


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