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Glossary of technical terms and abbreviations used


A water-bearing stratum of permeable rock or soil able to hold or transmit much water.

(water resources)

An examination of the aspects of the supply and demand for water and of the factors affecting the management of water resources.


cost-benefit analysis


cost-effectiveness analysis

Comprehensive water resources management

Water resources planning, development and control that incorporates physical, social, economic and environmental interdependencies.

Cost recovery

Fee structures that cover the cost of providing the service or investment.


The distribution of responsibilities for decision making and operations to lower levels of government, community organizations, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Demand management

The use of price, quantitative restrictions, and other devices to limit the demand for water.

Dublin Statement

The Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development, adopted at the International Conference on Water and the Environment (ICWE).


European Commission-Helsinki Commission, which in 1992 agreed the Revised Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, setting, i.a., standards for effluent water quality.


A complex system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with its environment.


environmental impact assessment


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


gross domestic product


gross national product


International Action Programme on Water and Sustainable Agricultural Development


International Conference on Water and the Environment, attended by over 500 participants from over 100 countries and over 80 international governmental organizations and NGOs, and held in Dublin, Ireland, 26-31 January 1992.


Organizational arrangements and the legal and regulatory framework - the 'enabling environment' - in which organizations operate.

Market failure

A divergence between the market outcome, without intervention, and the economically efficient solution.


non-governmental organization

O & M

operation and maintenance


A declared intention and course of action adopted by government, party, etc., for the achievement of a goal.


A definite plan of intended procedure.


A scheme or undertaking.

Opportunity cost

The value of goods or services foregone, including environmental goods and services, when a scarce resource is used for one purpose instead of for its next best alternative use.

Ramsar Convention

Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, done at Ramsar on 2 February 1971 and signed by 22 European States. It came into force on 21 December 1975.

R & D

research and development

River basin

A geographical area determined by the watershed limits of a water system, including surface and underground water, flowing into a common terminus.


Liquid refuse or waste matter carried off by sewers.


The removal and disposal of sewage and surface water by sewer systems.


Organization or individual that is concerned with or has an interest in water resources and that would be affected by decisions about water resources management.


A set of chosen short-, medium- and long-term actions made to implement water-related policies.


un-accounted-for water, i. e., the volume of water lost through leakage or irregular practices between entering a distribution system and reaching the users.


United Nations


United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992). Also known as The Earth Summit.


Areas of marsh, fen, peatland, or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water less than six metres deep at low tide.

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