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AWG Glossary of Water Filtration and Water Related Terms

There are 6015 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition

The uppermost zone in the Soil Profile - from which soluble Salts and Colloids are leached - and in which organic matter has accumulated. Generally this represents the most fertile soil layer and constitutes part of the Zone of Eluviation.

Abandoned Water Right

A water right which has not been put to Beneficial Use for generally five or more years, in which the owner of the water right states that the water right will not be used, or takes such actions that would prevent the water from being beneficially used. Compare to Forfeited Water Right.

Abandoned Well

A well which is no longer used or a well removed from service; a well whose use has been permanently discontinued or which is in a state of such disrepair that it cannot be used for its intended purpose. Generally, abandoned wells will be filled with concrete or cement grout to protect underground water from waste and contamination.

Abandonment (Water Right)

(1) Generally refers to the intentional surrender of a water right by virtue of non-use. (2) Failure to put a water right to Beneficial Use for generally five or more years, in which the owner of the water right states that the water right will not be used, or takes such actions that would prevent the water from being beneficially used. Also see Abandoned Water Right. Compare to Forfeiture (Water Right).


Reducing the degree or intensity of, or eliminating pollution, as a water pollution abatement program.


Those non-living factors which are present in and affect the characteristics of a given ecosystem.


(1) The process by which ice and snow waste away as a result of melting and/or evaporation. (2) The erosive processes by which a glacier is reduced.


Removal of stream-bank soil as a result of sediment-laden water, ice, or debris rubbing against the bank.

Abscissa (Symbol X)

(Mathematics) The coordinate representing the position of a point along a line perpendicular to the y-axis (Ordinate) in a Plane Cartesian Coordinate System.


The dropping of leaves from a plant. Premature abscission in certain plant species frequently results from excessive exposure to certain air contaminants.

Absolute Humidity

The actual weight of water vapor contained in a unit volume of the atmosphere, usually expressed in grams of water per kilogram of air. Compare to Relative Humidity.

Absolute Temperature (T)

A temperature expressed on the thermodynamic scale, measured from Absolute Zero, or 0°Kelvin (K), also equivalent to –273.15°C or –459.67°F.

Absolute Zero

The zero value of thermodynamic temperature, or 0°Kelvin (°K), also equivalent to –273.15°Celsius(°C) on the Centigrade Temperature Scale or –459.67°Fahrenheit (°F) on the Fahrenheit Temperature Scale.


A material capable of taking in a substance, such as oil, as a sponge takes up water.


(1) The entrance of water into the soil or rocks by all natural processes, including the infiltration of precipitation or snowmelt, gravity flow of streams into the valley alluvium into sinkholes or other large openings, and the movement of atmospheric moisture. (2) The uptake of water or dissolved chemicals by a cell or an organism (as tree roots absorb dissolved nutrients in soil). (3) More generally, the process by which substances in gaseous - liquid - or solid form dissolve or mix with other substances. Not to be confused with Adsorption.

Absorption Loss

The loss of water by Infiltration or Seepage into the soil during the process of priming, i.e., during the initial irrigation of a field; generally expressed as flow volume per unit of time.

Absorption Tower

(Air Quality) An air pollution control device in which contaminated air is passed through a tower containing substances (packing) possessing large surface area. Water is passed over the packing material in a countercurrent fashion, i.e., in a direction opposite to the passage of the air, and the air contaminants are then absorbed into the liquid. Also referred to as Packed Tower, Spray Tower, or Tray Tower.

Abutment (of a Dam)

The part of a valley side wall against which a dam is constructed. An artificial abutment is sometimes constructed as a concrete gravity section to take the thrust of an Arch Dam where there is no suitable natural abutment. Right and left abutments are designated as one looks downstream.

Abutment Seepage

Reservoir water that moves through seams or pores in the dam’s natural Abutment material and exists as seepage.


Of or relating to the bottom waters of the ocean depth.

Abyssal Zone

The bottom of a deep ocean. Also see Bathyal Zone and Euphotic Zone.


The physiological adjustment or adaptation by an organism to new physical and/or environmental conditions. With respect to water, it is frequently used in reference to the ability of a species to tolerate changes in water temperature, degradation of water quality, or increased levels of salinity.


The slow addition to land by deposition of water-borne sediment. An increase in land along the shores of a body of water, as by Alluvial deposit.


(Southwestern U.S.) (1) An irrigation canal; an irrigation ditch or channel, a term commonly used in northern New Mexico. (2) A Spanish word used in the Southwestern United States in referring to a community irrigation ditch or canal. (3) Community-run irrigation ditches and/or the community-run organizations that manage them. These systems of water management are rooted in ancient Spanish custom and many still operate in northern New Mexico.


(1) Chemicals that release hydrogen ions (H⁺) in solution and produce hydronium ions (H₃O⁺). Such solutions have a sour taste, neutralize bases, and conduct electricity. (2) Term applied to water with a pH of less than 7.0 on a pH scale of 0 to 14.

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