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Concepts and terminology

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  • Absolute Poverty: Individuals or households in absolute poverty are not able to satisfy their minimum requirements for food, clothing or shelter. The dollar a day poverty line is accepted internationally as an absolute poverty line. In contrast, relative poverty lines are set with respect to the standard of living and social norms in particular countries.
    (Adapted from: DFID. 2001. Poverty: Bridging the Gap. Guidance notes. DFID, London).
  • Adaptive management: The mode of operation in which an intervention (action) is followed by monitoring (learning), with the information then being used in designing and implementing the next intervention (acting again) to steer the system toward a given objective or to modify the objective itself. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment, Island Press, Washington, DC)
  • Agriculture: production, processing and marketing of crops and livestock from producer to consumer. Agriculture as defined is a major part of overall natural resource-based activity. Forestry and fisheries are therefore also included in the CA.(Adapted from: DFID. 2002. Better livelihoods for poor people: The role of Agriculture. Issues Paper. DFID, London.
  • Agricultural systems are organized to produce food and to meet other household goals through the management of available resources- whether owned, rented or jointly managed – within the existing social, economic and institutional environment. These encompass different farming systems, from smallholder farm-held to large scale systems publicly or privately managed.
  • Agrobiodiversity: The diversity of plants, animals, insects, and soil biota found in agricultural systems.
    (Modified from: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Our Human Planet. A Summary for Decision Makers. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Agro-ecological Zones: Agro-ecological zones are defined and delineated by FAO based on the average annual length or growing period for crops, which depends on, inter alia, precipitation and temperature. The length of growing period for these zones are: humid, greater than 270 days, moist subhumid, 180 to 269 days; dry subhumid, 120 to 179 days; semiarid, 60 to 119 days; arid, 0 to 59 days. (FAO and World Bank. 2001. Farming Systems and Poverty. Improving  Farmers’ Livelihoods in a changing World. FAO and World Bank, Rome and Washington DC.)
  • Aquaculture: The farming of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants with some sort of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Farming also implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated.
  • Aquifer: A water bearing stratum of permeable  rock, sand or gravel.
  • Basin authorities are autonomous executive organizations with extensive mandates for their river basin, undertaking most water-related development and management functions.
  • Basin commissions or committees focus on policy setting, basinwide planning, water allocation, and information management, with varying degrees of stakeholder participation. They are usually endowed with authority to manage water resources (allocating permits, defining taxation, negotiating water allocations, defining effluent standards) and sometimes to plan future developments, but are not involved in operation or construction.
  • Basin coordinating councils are deliberative decisionmaking bodies incorporating public and private stakeholders and integrating policymaking across different policy areas. They are not organizations in the strict sense, but rather bring together stakeholders from various agencies and water use sectors. Their role is coordination, conflict resolution, and review of water resources allocation or management.
  • Biodiversity: Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms. It includes diversity within and among species and diversity within and among ecosystems (Millennium Assessment Framework). When linked to ecosystem function there are two key components of biodiversity; functional diversity (the diversity of functions and species that sustains a specific function) and response diversity (the diversity of ways in which organisms within an ecosystem function responds to change and disturbance) (Elmqvist et al. 2003)
  • Biological resources: Biological resources includes genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with actual or potential use or value for humanity. (UNCED. 1992.  Convention on biological diversity. Concluded at Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992.  Article 2.
  • Biotechnology: Biotechnology means any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or to modify products or processes for specific use. (UNCED. 1992. Convention on biological diversity. Concluded at Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992.  Article 2.
  • Blue water, the liquid water flowing in rivers and aquifers.
  • Capture fishery: The sum (or range) of all activities to harvest a given fish resource. It may refer to the location (e.g. Morocco, Gearges Bank), the target resource (e.g. hake), the technology used (e.g. trawl or beach seine), the social characteristics (e.g. artisanal, industrial), the purpose (e.g. (commercial, subsistence, or recreational) as well as the season (e.g. winter).
  • Catchments or watersheds: are hydrologic sub-basins of a more limited size (typically less than 1000 km2) which contribute to a larger river. Because of their limited size, stakeholders in a given catchment may more easily develop an overall understanding of dynamics and interactions, and these are more easily amenable to local control and management.
  • Committed water: Water reserved for use by the environment, downstream countries, or other downstream uses that have a right to the water.
  • Crop water depletion = the amount of water depleted for the process of crop production by transpiration (T), evaporation from soils (E) and field ponds and canals. Originating from rainfall (green water), irrigation (blue water) or a combination of both, it is a consumptive use defined as the water is no longer available for other use because it has evaporated, transpired, or incorporated into crops.  
  • Crop water requirements (ETcrop): The depth of water needed to meet the evapotranspiration requirements of a disease-free crop, growing in large fields under nonrestricting soil conditions and achieving full production potential under the given growing environment.
  • Crop yield: represents the harvested production per unit of harvested area for crop products. In most of the cases yield data are not recorded but obtained by dividing the data stored under production element by those recorded under element: area harvested. Data are recorded in hectogram (100 grams) per hectare (HG/HA).
  • Decision-maker: A person whose decision and actions can influence a condition, process, or issue under consideration. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for  Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Degradation: Degradation is the sum of the processes that render land or water economically less valuable for agricultural production or for other ecosystem services. Continued degradation leads to zero or negative economic agricultural productivity. For loss of “land” in quantitative or qualitative ways, the term “degradation” is used.  For water resources rendered unavailable for agricultural and non-agricultural uses, we employ the terms “depletion” and “pollution”. “Soil” degradation refers to the processes that reduce the capacity of the soil to support agriculture. (Vlek, P.L.G. 2005.  Nothing Begets Nothing.  The Creeping Disaster of Land Degradaton. InterSecTions (Interdisciplinary Security Connections) Publicatin No. 1. EHS (Institute for Environment and Human Security), UNU (United Nations University), Bonn.
  • Domesticated or cultivated species: Domesticated or cultivated species means species in which the evolutionary process has been influenced by humans to meet their needs. (UNCED. 1992.  Convention on biological diversity. Concluded at Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992.  Article 2.
  • Drainage of surface water: the diversion or orderly removal of excess water from the surface of the land by means of improved natural or constructed channels, supplemented when necessary by the shaping and grading of land surfaces to such channels.
  • Driver: any natural or human induced factor that directly or indirectly causes a change in an ecosystem. (Millenium Ecosystem assessment. 2005. ecosystems and human well-being: a framework for assessment. Island Press, washington DC).
  • Economic efficiency: It is the allocation of resources in the economy that yields an overall net gain to society as measured through valuation in terms of the benefits of each use minus its costs.
  • Ecosystem: An ecosystem is a dynamic complex of plant, animal, and microorganism communities and the nonliving environment, interacting as a functional unit. Humans are an integral part of ecosystems. A well-defined ecosystem has strong interactions among its components and weak interactions across its boundaries (Millennium Assessment Framework).
  • ecosystem approach: a strategy for the integrated management of land, water, and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. An ecosystem approach is based on the application of appropriate scientific methodologies focused on levels of biological organisation, which encompass the essential structure, processes, functions and interactions among organisms and their environment. it recognizes that human, with their cultural diversity are an integral component of many ecosystems (Millenium Ecosystem assessment. 2005. ecosystems and human well-being: a framework for assessment. Island Press, washington DC)
  • Ecosystem assessment: A social process through which the findings of science concerning the causes of ecosystem change, their consequences for human well-being, and management and policy options are brought to bear on the needs of decision-makers.
  • Ecosystem Services : Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. These include provisioning services such as food and timber; regulating services such as flood and disease control, and ground water recharge; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits; and supporting services, such as nutrient cycling, that maintain the conditions for life on Earth (Millennium Assessment Framework). Although we use the definitions from the Millennium Assessment we do not regard water as a provisioning service, since all water comes from precipitation, mainly governed by solar energy and not ecosystems.
  • Ecosystem stability: A description of the dynamic properties of an ecosystem.  An ecosystem is considered stable if it returns to its original state shortly after a perturbation (resilience), exhibits low temporal variability (constancy), or does not change dramatically in the face of a perturbation (resistance). (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005.  Ecosystem and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Effective rainfall (Peff): That part of the total rainfall that can be beneficially used by crops.
  • Efficiency: A service is efficient if the available resources are used in the best possible way.
    (The World Bank. 2000. Key Glossary prepared as an Appendix in the Environmental Resources Management’s Strategic Planning Guide for Municipal Solid Waste Management, September 2000.,,contentMDK:20241717~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:463841,00.html).
  • Empowerment: It is used to denote an ongoing process that strengthens the self-confidence of disadvantaged sections of the population, enables them to articulate their interests and participate in the community, and provides them with access to and control over resources.  This helps them to make responsible control of their lives and participate in the political process. Changes in the social, economic, legal and political institutions, that embody the current relations of power therefore play a key role in this process. (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ). 2004. The World of Words at GTZ. GTZ, Eschborn.
  • Environment: 1) All external conditions that affect an organism or other specified system during its lifetime.
    (United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change. Glossary.
    2) The complex set of physical, geographic, biological, social, cultural and political conditions that surround an individual or organism and that ultimately determines its form and nature of its survival. (Development Education Program, The World Bank.
    3) A combination of the various physical and biological elements that affect the life of an organism. Although it is common to refer to ‘the’ environment, there are in fact many environments e.g., aquatic or terrestrial, microscopic to global, all capable of change in time and place, but all intimately linked and in combination constituting the whole earth/atmosphere system. (People & the Planet.
  • Environmental flows: Usage of environmental water allocations instead? Malin Falkenmark says: * This is a linguistically confuse concept for “non-English borns” – when I used it in the Global Water System Project Scientific Committee, the Chinese member opposed. For him, environmental flow is just streamflow. What we mean is minimum residual streamflow or something of that sort. The ambiguity originates from the fact that “environment” tends to be used in two senses: for the landscape around us (this is the way the Chinese use it, they distinguish between environment and ecosystem) and the ecosystem.
  • Equity: Equity can be understood as fairness, the standard by which each person and group is able to maximize the development of their latent capacities. Equity differs from absolute equality in that it does not dictate that all be treated in exactly the same way.  Equity is the standard by which policy and resource commitment decisions should be made.  Justice is the vehicle through which equity is applied, its practical expression. (Minu Hemmati 2002: Multi-Stakeholder Processes for Governance and Sustainability – Beyond Deadlock and Conflict.  London, Earthscan)
  • Evaporation (E): The amount of water that leaves the basin or country as vapor. Evaporation can be beneficial or non-beneficial. Non-beneficial (Enb) includes evaporation from open water bodies (reservoirs, canals) and from bare soil.
  • Ex-situ conservation: Ex-situ conservation means the conservation of components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats. (UNCED. 1992.  Convention on biological diversity. Concluded at Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992.  Article 2.
  • Externalities: Effects of a person’s or firm’s activities on others which are not compensated. Externalities can either hurt or benefit others – they can be negative or positive. One negative externality arises when a company pollutes the local environment to produce its goods and does not compensate the negatively affected local residents. Positive externalities can be produced trough primary education – which benefits not only primary students but also society at large. Governments can reduce negative externalities by regulating and taxing goods with negative externalities. Governments can increase positive externalities by subsidizing goods with positive externalities or by directly providing those goods. (Development Education Program, The World Bank. Beyond Economic Growth Student Book, Glossary.
  • Extreme poverty: Persons who fall below a poverty line. For example, in 1993 the World Bank defined an upper poverty line of US$ 1 income per day and extreme poverty as persons living on less than US$ 0.75 income per day (both in 1985 prices). These measures are converted into local currencies using purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates. Other definitions of this concept have identified minimum subsistence requirements, the denial of basic human rights or the experience of exclusion. (DFID. 2001. Poverty: Bridging the Gap. Guidance notes. DFID, London).
  • Farm System: Each individual farm has its own specific characteristics arising from variations in resource endowments and family circumstances.  The household, its resources, and the resource flows and interactions at this individual farm level are together referred to as a farm system.  The biophysical, socio-economic and human elements of a farm are interdependent, and thus farms can be analysed as systems from various points of views. (FAO and World Bank. 2001. Farming Systems and Poverty. Improving  Farmers’ Livelihoods in a changing World. FAO and World Bank, Rome and Washington DC.
  • Farming System: A farming system is defined as a population of individual farm systems that have broadly similar resource bases, enterprise patterns, household livelihoods and constraints, and for which similar development strategies and interventions would be appropriate.  Depending on the scale of analysis, a farming system can encompass a few dozen or many millions of households. (FAO and World Bank. 2001. Farming Systems and Poverty. Improving  Farmers’ Livelihoods in a changing World. FAO and World Bank, Rome and Washington DC.
  • Fishery: Generally, a fishery is an activity leading to harvesting of fish.  It may involve capture of wild fish or raising of fish through aquaculture. (FAO online Fisheries Glossary.
  • Food Chain: "The transfer of energy from the source in plants trhough a series of organismswith repeated eating and being eaten. At each transfer, a large proportion of the potential energy is lost as heat. The shorter the food chain (or the nearest the organisms from the beginning of the food chain, the greater the available energy which can be converted in biomass". Odum E.P.(1959) Fundamentals in ecology. 2nd Edition, Philadelphia, Saunders Co: p. 53.  in FAO Glossary
  • Food security: Food security [is] a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (FAO. 2002. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2001. Rome)
  • Forms of knowledge (4 types)
  • Indigenous knowledge (or local knowledge): 1) The knowledge that is unique to a given culture or society. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Our Human Planet. A Summary for Decision Makers. Island Press, Washington DC).
    2) Local knowledge in development contexts related to any knowledge held by non-scientific communities, informing interpretation of the world. It may encompass any domain in development, particularly that pertaining to natural resource management. It is conditioned by socio-cultural tradition, being culturally relative understanding inculcated into individuals from birth, structuring how they interface with their environments.
    (Sillitoe, P. 1998. What, know natives? Local knowledge in development. Social Anthropology 6 (2):203-220).
  • Traditional (ecological) knowledge: The cumulative body of knowledge, practices, and beliefs evolved by adaptive processes and handed down through generations. TEK may not be indigenous or local, but it is distinguished by the way in which it is acquired and used, through the social process of learning and sharing knowledge. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Our Human Planet. A Summary for Decision Makers. Island Press, Washington DC).
  • Forms of knowledge - Embodied knowledge: knowledge may be embodied in systems and objects – in which case it can be formalised.  It may also be embodied in persons – in which case it is far more difficult to formalise, as it is tacit and only accessible through experience, networks, and so on.(Allix, M.N. 2003. Epistemology and Knowledge Management Concepts and Practices.  Journal of Knowledge Management Practice 4)
  • Forms of knowledge - Experiential knowledge may be traditional or modern.  It is frequently specific to a local context and is acquired through individual and collective learning.  Experiential knowledge has often not been systematically validated or tested but is nevertheless dynamic and is used by all of us in our daily lives.  Such knowledge must not be confused with pseudo-science, which is largely static – changing only in opposition to systematic science – and has no societal benefit.(ICSU 2003. Optimizing Knowledge in the Information Society.  International Council for Science).
  • Forms of knowledge:Scientific knowledge has been legitimized and validated by a systematic scientific research process. Science has built in dynamic regarding the improvement of knowledge.  Other forms of knowledge (experiential knowledge) also enable action but are not recognised as having the same properties in terms of proven reliability and generability.
  • Forms of knowledge - System target and transformation knowledge: (1) Knowledge of the current status: “systems knowledge of structures and processes, variabilities and so on (empirical aspects). (2) Knowledge concerning that which should and should not be: target knowledge, i.e. the evaluation of current situations, prognoses and scenarios; providing critical levels, “guiding ideas”, ethical boundary conditions, visions (normative aspects). (3) Knowledge of how to make transition from the existing to the target situation: Transfomation knowledge, i.e. gaining knowledge of how to shape and implement the transition from the existing to the target situation (pragmatic aspects). (Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, 2005; Glossary, Bern).
  • Gender: Refers to the attributes and opportunities associated to being a man or a woman and the relations with each other. These attributes, opportunities, and relations are socially built and learned and as such they are dynamic, changing and may, therefore, be modified. Gender is a part of a more complex social interweaving and interacts with factors such as class, caste, ethnicity, and age.
  • Gender approach: The gender approach corresponds to an understanding of socio-political and systemic development.  It directs attention to the different roles allocated to men and women in society, which are reflected, for example, in the gender-specific division of labour and work-load, unequal access to and control over resources, and different opportunities to exert influence at societal and political level. (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ). 2004. The World of Words at GTZ. GTZ, Eschborn.
  • Gender Equality: Generally refers to equal visibility, empowerment and participation of both sexes in all spheres of public and private life. It means that rights, responsibilities, and opportunities cannot depend on having been born a man or woman. It recognizes that often times men and women have different needs, are confronted with different limitations, have their own aspirations, and contribute in a differentiated manner.
  • Gender Equity: promotes the elimination of economic, political, legal, and social barriers so that men and women may enjoy equal opportunities and equitable benefits. 
  • Gender mainstreaming in water management for sustainable livelihoods: can be defined as the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programs, in any area and at all levels. It is a strategy for making the concerns and experiences of women as well of men an integral part of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs in all political, economic and societal spheres, so that women and men benefit equally, and inequalities are not perpetuated. The ultimate goal of mainstreaming is to achieve gender equality, but adequately recognizing and addressing gender divisions, roles and identities also contributes to the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of water management.
  • Global change: Global-scale human, human-induced and natural changes that modify the functionality of the natural, social, economic and cultural dimensions of the Earth system. (Hurni H, Wiesmann U, and R. Schertenleib (eds). 2004.  Research for Mitigating Syndromes of Global Change.  A Transdisciplinary Appraisal of Selected Regions of  the World to Prepare Development-Oriented Research Partnerships. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, University of Berne, Vol.1.  Geographica Bernensia, Bern. 468pp.)
  • Global Water Cycle: The global water cycle involves major transports that link the Earth’s atmosphere, land mass and oceans, though the emphasis in this Chapter will be on the continental hydrologic cycle. The figure below outlines the major fluxes of freshwater, which help to define the renewable freshwater upon which humans and ecosystems are dependent. The water cycle can be divided into a portion that is accessible to humans and that which is not. That portion of the global water cycle that is accessible to humans is shown in the diagram.
  • Globalisation: Increasing interlinking of political, economic, institutional, social, cultural, technical, and ecological issues at the global level. Hurni H, Wiesmann U, and R. Schertenleib (eds). 2004.  Research for Mitigating Syndromes of Global Change.  A Transdisciplinary Appraisal of Selected Regions of  the World to Prepare Development-Oriented Research Partnerships. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, University of Berne, Vol.1.  Geographica Bernensia, Bern. 468pp.)
  • GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) also refered to as GMs: An organism in which the genetic material has been altered anthropogenically by means of gene or cell technologies.  (FAO Glossary. FAO (1995a), Guidelines for responsible management of fisheries. In Report of the Expert Consultation on Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries Management, Wellington, New Zealand, 23-27 January 1995. FAO Fisheries Report, 519).
  • Governance is 1) the framework of social and economic systems and legal and political structures through which humanity manages itseld. (World Humanity Action Trust. 2000. Governance for a Sustainable Future. A Report by the World Humanity Action Trust. WHAT, London. 2) it is the way authority is organized and executed in society, and often includes the normative notion of the necessity of good governance. The Global Water Partnership defines water governance as “the range of political, social, economic, and administrative systems that are in place to develop and manage water resources, and the delivery of water services, at different level of society” (Rogers and Hall 2003, p. 7). Governance is therefore a broad term that includes institutions, organizations, and policies. The World Bank broadens the definition to include the process by which those in authority are selected, monitored, and replaced and the effectiveness of government in implementing sound policies (Jayal, 1997).
  • “Governance of natural resources” can be understood as the interactions among structures, processes and traditions expressed in formal and informal norms that determine how power and responsibilities are exercised, how decisions are taken, and how citizens or other stakeholders have their say in the use of natural resources-including biodiversity conservation. (IUCN. 2004. Governance of Natural Resources—the Key to a Just World that Values and Conserves Nature? Briefing Note 7, Novermber 2004.In:Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. 2005; Glossary. Bern; modified)
  • Government: The political direction and control exercised over actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states. (Sutinen, J.G., ed. 2000. A framework for monitoring and assessing socioeconomics and governance of large marine ecosystems. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE-158, 32 pp.)
  • Green water resource; the soil moisture generated from infiltrated rainfall that is available for root water uptake by plants, and which constitutes the main water resource in rainfed agriculture
  • Growth: A normal process of increase in number and/or size of a tissue, organ, organism, population or biomass.
    Definition suggested or amended by the compiler or validator. Anonymous 1998. AQUALEX. Multilingual glossary of aquaculture terms / Glossaire multilingue relatif aux termes utilisés en aquaculture. CD ROM, John Wiley & Sons Ltd. & Praxis Publ., UK. Leopold, M. (comp.) 1978. Glossary of inland fishery terms / Glossaire de termes utilisés dans le domaine des pêches intérieures. EIFAC Occas. Pap., (12): 126p.)
  • Growth Rate: Growth per unit of time. Anonymous 1998. AQUALEX. Multilingual glossary of aquaculture terms / Glossaire multilingue relatif aux termes utilisés en aquaculture. CD ROM, John Wiley & Sons Ltd. & Praxis Publ., UK.).
  • Habitat: Area occupied by and supporting living organisms.  Also used to mean the environmental attributes required by a particular species or its ecological niche. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005.  Ecosystem and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Health: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. (Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June 1946.  Entered into force as from 7 April 1948).
  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus): A virus that steadily weakens the body’s defense (immune) system until it can no longer fight off infections such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, tumours and other illnesses. All of which can be part of AIDS (Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome). Unable to fight back, most people die within three years of the first signs of AIDS appearing. Most of all HIV infections have been transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who is already infected with HIV. HIV can also be transmitted by infected blood or blood products (as in blood transfusions), by the sharing of contaminated needles, and from an infected woman to her baby before birth, during delivery, or through breast-feeding. (The World Bank 2003. Local Government Responses to HIV / AIDS: A Handbook. A Handbook to support local government authorities in addressing HIV / AIDS at the municipal level. The World Bank, Washington DC:
  • Household: All the persons, kin and non-kin, who live in the same dwelling and share income, expenses and daily subsistence tasks. The concept of household is based on the arrangements made by persons, individually or in groups, for providing themselves with food or other essentials for living. A household may be either a one-person or a multi-person household. The persons in the group may pool their incomes and may, to a greater or lesser extent, have a common budget; they may be related or unrelated persons or constitute a combination of persons both related and unrelated. A household my be located in one ore more places or may be homeless.(Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 1. United Nations, New York, 1998, Series M, No. 67, Rev. 1, paras. 2.61-2.62. Modified)
  • Hunger: Hunger: A condition in which people lack the basic food intake to provide them with the energy and nutrients for fully productive, active lives. (Boyle Struble, M. and L. Aomari. 2003.  Addressing World Hunger, Malnutrition and Food Insecurity. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 103 (9): 1046-1057).
  • Impact: Impacts are changes in a situation brought about by an intervention. They may be intended or unintended, expected or unexpected, positive or negative. (GTZ 2004. The World of Words at GTZ. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, Eschborn.
  • Income (or Consumption) Poverty: Poverty defined with respect to a money-based poverty line for income or expenditure. The distinction is made between this and other concepts that emphasize the many dimensions of poverty. (DFID. 2001. Poverty: Bridging the Gap. Guidance notes. DFID, London).
  • Indicator: Information based on measured data used to represent a particular attribute, characteristic, or property of a system. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005.  Ecosystem and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Information takes the shape of structures and formatted data that remain passive and inert until used by those with the knowledge needed to interpret and process them.  It is only the ‘meaning’ that users attach to information that makes it into knowledge. (ICSU 2003. Optimizing Knowledge in the Information Society.  International Council for Science enhanced).
  • inland fishery enhancement technics: The main one is stocking but also using fish holes, drain in ponds, dug-outs, finger ponds. These four last ones are an age old enhancement practice in many tropical systems, similar to the hortillonage systems of mexico and rwanda that use reclaimed lowland swamps to culture fish with combination with horticulture. Finger ponds are often installed on the margin of some african lakes on an experimental basis. Drain in ponds are incorporated into rice fields to raise their productivity and produce a crop of their own.
  • Infrastructure: The term infrastructure is defined here as the facilities, structures, and associated equipment and services that facilitate the flows of goods and services between individuals, firms, and governments. It includes public utilities (electric power, telecommunications, water supply, sanitation and sewerage, and waste disposal); public works (irrigation systems, schools, housing, and hospitals); transport services (roads, railways, ports, waterways, and airports); and R&D facilities.
    (UN Millennium Project. 2005. Innovation: Applying Knowledge in Development. Task Force on Science, Technology, and Innovation).
  • In-situ conservation: In-situ conservation means the conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties. (UNCED. 1992.  Convention on biological diversity. Concluded at Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992.  Article 2.
  • Institution refers to social arrangements that shape and regulate human behavior and have some degree of permanency and purpose transcending individual human lives and intentions. Examples are rotation schedules for water distribution, market mechanisms for obtaining crop credit, membership rules of water user associations, and property rights in water and infrastructure. Institutions are often referred to as the rules of the game in society (North 1990). Rules are interpreted and acted on differently by different people. Institutions, including rules, are dynamic and emerge, evolve, and disappear over time.
  • Institutions: The rules that guide how people within societies live, work, and interact with each other.  Formal institutions are written or codified rules.  Examples of formal institutions would be the constitution, the judiciary laws, the organized market, and property rights. Informal institutions are rules governed by social and behavioural norms of the society, family, or community. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005.  Ecosystem and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Integrated approaches search for the best use of the functional relations among living organisms in relation to the environment, without excluding use of external inputs.  Integrated approaches aim at the achievement of multiple goals (productivity increase, environmental sustainability and social welfare) using a variety of methods. (IAC 2004.  Realizing the promise and potential of African agriculture.  Science and technology strategies for improving agricultural productivity and food security in Africa.  IAC: Amsterdam.)
  • Integrated Assessment: A method of analysis that combines results and models from the physical, biological, economic, and social sciences, and the interactions between these components, in a consistent framework, to evaluate the status and the consequences of environmental change and the policy responses to it. (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2001. Synthesis Report. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva).
  • Integrated natural resources management is a conscious process of incorporating multiple aspects of natural resource use into a system of sustainable management to meet explicit production goals of farmers and other uses (e.g., profitability, risk reduction) as well as goals of the wider community (sustainability). (CGIAR ask Force on INRM 2000). At its first scientific workshop, INRM II in Penang, the working group articulated INRM as follows (Task Force on INRM 2000): "Integrated natural resources management offers a way of doing development-oriented research that aims to simultaneously reduce poverty, increase food security and achieve environmental protection. These three key factors that influence human well-being are inextricably linked with the health of the ecosystems in which people live and work. INRM reflects these broad interactions. It focuses on ecosystems rather than commodities; on underlying processes (both biophysical and socioeconomic) rather than simple relationships; and on managing the effects of interactions between various elements of an ecosystem."]
  • Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) has received wide recognition and the concept has come to spearhead the water resource and agricultural development policies fostered by many development agencies. The definition of IWRM provided by the Global Water Programme (2000) is: “a process which promotes the co-ordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. “The concept focuses on coordination and management of natural resources through the establishment of social mechanisms to better reconcile economic efficiency, equity, and environmental goals in line with the concepts of sustainable development. In doing this IWRM mechanisms provide support for a vision of water management that is in line with the concepts of sustainable development (van der Zaag 2004).
  • Integrated agriculture-aquaculture (IAA): It refers to mixed farming systems based on the following basic principles: 1) to use the nutrients found in agricultural by-products for fish production and, 2) optimize the agricultural use of water. Fish production has been successfully integrated into row crops (especially rice), hydroponic horticultural systems, silkworm production and animal husbandry (pigs, poultry, rabbits, small ruminants, cattle).
  • International river commissions aim is coordination between countries.They were frequently established as part of a treaty signed between riparian countries or to manage dams on shared rivers (for example, Senegal, Volta, or Zambezi Rivers) (Barrows 1998; see below). They mediate water conflicts through consultation and cooperation but may also manage common databases, and their work may lead to concrete agreements.
  • Interdisciplinary research: Research that integrates two or more scientific disciplines with the goal of advancing the understanding  of complex cognitive and practical problems. (Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. 2005; Glossary, Bern.)
  • Investment in irrigation as used in the irrigation chapter of the CA includes both public investments in drainage, modernization, institutional reform, improved governance, capacity building, management improvement, creation of farmer organisations and regulatory over-sight, as well as farmer's investment in joint facilities and on farm irrigation equipment, wells and on farm storage.
  • Investment in irrigation means in general public expenditure to develop new irrigation systems (capital investments)
  • Irrigation: Water artificially applied to soil and confined in time and space. It enables to meet the water requirements of a crop at a given time of its vegetative cycle or to bring the soil to the desired moisture level outside the vegetative cycle. The irrigation systems can be fully equipped, just partially equipped, or managed in a “traditional” way. The equipment may be for permanent or supplementary irrigation.
    (FAO Land and Water Development Division. On-line Glossary.
  • Knowledge: Knowledge is fundamentally a matter of cognitive capability skills, training and learning.  Knowledge – in whatever filed – empowers those who create and possess it with the capacity for intellectual or physical action. (ICSU 2003. Optimizing Knowledge in the Information Society.  International Council for Science). see also "forms of knowledge"
  • Local knowledge: Local knowledge in development contexts related to any knowledge held by non scientific communities, informing interpretation of the world. It may encompass any domain in development, particularly that pertaining to natural resource management. It is conditioned by socio-cultural tradition, being culturally relative understanding inculcated into individuals from birth, structuring how they interface with their environments. (Sillitoe, P. 1998. What, know natives? Local knowledge in development. Social Anthropology 6 (2):203-220).
  • Land: The term “land” refers to a spatial unit containing all natural resources – i.e. minerals, soils, water, flora and fauna – as well as to all the land use types occurring on it. (Hurni, H. et al. 1996. Precious Earth: From Soil and Water Conservation to Sustainable Land Management. International Soil Conservation Organisation (ISCO), and Centre for Development and Environment, Berne, 89 pp).
  • Land cover: The physical coverage of land, usually expressed in terms of vegetation cover or lack of it. Influenced by but non synonymous with land use. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Land degradation: Land degradation is the reduction in the capability of the land to produce benefits from a particular land use under a specific form of land management. (Douglas, M. 1994. Sustainable use of agricultural soils. Group for Development and Environment. Development and Environment Reports. No. 11. Berne: Institute of Geography, University of Berne, referring to Blaikie, P. and Brookfield, H. 1987. Land degradation and society. Methuen, London and New York. In: Humi, H. et aI., 1996. Precious Earth: From Soil and Water Conservation to Sustainable Land Management. International Soil Conservation Organisation (ISCO), and Centre for Development and Environment, Berne, 89 pp.)
  • Land tenure: The relationship, whether legally or customarily defined, among people, as individuals or groups, with respect to land and associated natural resources (water, trees, minerals, wildlife, and so on). Rules of tenure define how property rights in land are to be allocated within societies. Land tenure systems determine who can use what resources for how long, and under what conditions. (FAG. 2002. Land tenure and rural development. FAG Land Tenure Studies 3. FAG,Rome)
  • Land use: The human utilization of a piece of land for a certain purpose (such as irrigated agriculture or recreation). Land use is influenced by, but not synonymous with, land cover. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Landscape: An area of land that contains a mosaic of ecosystems, including human dominated ecosystems. The term cultural landscape is often used when referring to landscapes containing significant human populations. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Livelihood: A livelihood comprises people, their capabilities and their means of living, including food, income and assets. Tangible assets are resources and stores, and intangible assets are claims and access. A livelihood is environmentally sustainable when it maintains or enhances the local and global assets in which livelihoods depend, and has net beneficial effects on other livelihoods. A livelihood is socially sustainable which can cope with and recover from stress and shocks, and provide for future generations. (Chambers, R. and G. Conway. 1991. Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: Practical Concepts for the 21st Century. IDS Discussion Paper No. 296.Instituteof Development Studies, Brighton).
  • Livestock: consist of many species and breeds of big and small animals that are raised worldwide in diverse livestock production systems.  In the ca, livestock means any bird or mammal kept for domestic production.  Because of lack of information for many species, discussion is mostly restricted to cattle, sheep and goats unless otherwise specified.
  • Livestock keeping : refers to the activity of keeping big or small animals for ... It is one of the most important, complex and diverse sub-sectors of world agriculture and a primary means by which rural poor people escape poverty.
  • Production systems are defined according to water availability, agricultural intensification and presence of livestock.  In addition, “landless” livestock production is rapidly increasing in developing country areas.  Landless production includes industrial scale and small holder production where producers purchase most of their feed and usually sell animal products for profit.
  • Livestock-water productivity (LWP)  is defined as the ration of sum of beneficial livestock products and services to the water depleted in producing them and animal keeping.
  • Livestock-gender-water productivity (LWP) framework : It is a tool that enables better understanding of livestock-water interactions.It identifies four intervention strategies that can help achieve effective integration of water and livestock development. The strategies are: feed sourcing, enhancing animal productivity, conserving water through improved grazing and watering practices and providing quality drinking water.  When combined, these strategies can increase effective transpiration, infiltration, and animal production, and reduce evaporation, contamination and discharge of water.   These strategies will have unique policy and technology implications in each of the major production systems.
  • Malnutrition: Failure to achieve nutrient requirements, which can impair physical and/or mental health. It may result from consuming too little food or a shortage or imbalance of key nutrients (eg, micronutrient deficiencies or excess consumption of refined sugar and fat). (Boyle Struble, M. and L. Aomari. 2003. Addressing World Hunger, Malnutrition and Food Insecurity. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 103 (9): 1046-1057).
  • Management: Those people who, collectively or individually, are responsible for running a business, farm or organization. Management is primarily concerned with decision-making and risk-bearing with respect to the organization of resources. See also Ecosystem Management.
    (Adapted from: FAO Glossary. Definition suggested or amended by the compiler or validator. Jolly, C.M. & Clonts, H.A. 1993. Economics of aquaculture. New York, Food Products Press. 319p. Greener, M. 1987. The Penguin Business Dictionary. Viking, penguin Books, Middlesex, England, 316p.).
  • Modes of allocation. Three modes of allocation are commonly recognized.  First, the state allocates water administratively according to rules that may, or may not, be very transparent or explicit. Allocation is sometimes volumetric, in general at the bulk level, and various (often fuzzy) mechanisms are used to reduce entitlements in times of shortage. Second, allocation can be ensured by a group of users among themselves. This case is more common in smaller systems (for example, a tank in India, a qanat in the Middle East), but users may also manage large schemes. Third, water may be allocated through markets of tradable rights, as in Australia or Chile. Underlying all three modes of water allocation are water rights, either de facto or usufruct rights, or more legally defined ownership rights.
  • Model: A simplified representation of reality used to simulate a process, understand a situation, predict an outcome or analyze a problem. A model can be viewed as a selective approximation, which by elimination of incidental detail, allows some fundamental aspects of the real world to appear or be tested. (FAO Glossary. Choudury, K. & Jansen, L.J.M. (UNESCO/WMO) 1999. Terminology for integrated resources planning and management. Rome, FAO. 69p. ESRI 2003. Environmental Systems Research Institute, The GIS glossary A-D. Online at (version in June 2003)).
  • Multidisciplinary research: Research based on a combination of several scientific disciplines, without implying that continual interaction and negotiation between these disciplines is necessary (as opposed to interdisciplinary research). (Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. 2005;Glossary. Bern)
  • Multi-stakeholder processes: Multi-stakeholder processes describe processes which aim to bring together all major stakeholders in a new from of communication, decision-finding (and possibly decision-making) on a particular issues. They are also based on recognition of the importance of achieving equity and accountability in communication between stakeholders, involving equitable representation of three or more stakeholder groups and their views. They are based on democratic principles of transparency and participation, and aim to develop partnerships and strengthened networks among stakeholders. Multi-stakeholder processes cover a wide spectrum of structures and levels of engagement. They can comprise dialogues on policy or grow to include consensus-building, decisionmaking and implementation of practical solutions. The exact nature of any such process will depend on the issues, its objectives, participants, scope and time lines, among other factors. (Hemmati, M. 2002. Multi-Stakeholder Processes for Governance and Sustainability-Beyond Deadlock and Conflict. Earthscan, London.
  • National food self-sufficiency is defined here as a nation’s capacity to ensure household and individual food security without undue departure from other policy goals.  It may be brought about by national self-sufficiency in staples, imports of food, or by reserving stocks of food.
  • Net irrigation requirements (NET): Amount of irrigation water needed to supplement rainfall to meet crop evapotranspiration requirements, defined as ETcrop less effective rainfall. This excludes irrigation water needed to cover conveyance and application losses, non-beneficial evaporation and leaching requirements.
  • Norms: A norm in the generic sense (i.e., encompassing all the various types of norms) involves: (1) a collective evaluation of behaviour in terms of what it ought to be; (2) a collective expectation as to what behaviour will be; and/or (3) particular reactions to behaviour, including attempts to apply sanctions or otherwise induce a particular kind of conduct. (Gibbs, J.P. 1965. Norms: The Problem of Definition and Classification. The American Journal of Sociology 70 (5): 586-594).
  • Organization refers to groups of people with shared goals and some formalized pattern of interaction, often defined in terms of roles such as president, water bailiff, or secretary. Examples are water user associations, government irrigation agencies, privatized water companies, water resources research organizations, farmers unions, consultancy firms, nongovernmental organizations, and regulatory bodies. There is enormous diversity in the form, scope, size, structure, permanency, and purpose of organizations. Bureaucracies are a particular type of organization characterized by role differentiation, hierarchical relationships, and formal, written, rules of procedure and accountability. This makes them very different from less formal local associations but both are organizations.
  • Participatory development: Participatory development is a process that involves people (population groups, organisations, associations, political parties) actively and significantly in all decisions affecting their lives. (Cross-sectoral Strategy: Participatory Development Cooperation; BMZ 1999. In: Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) 2004. The World of Words at GTZ. GTZ, Eschborn.).
  • Policy: is “a set of interrelated decisions taken by a political actor or group concerning the selection of goals and the means of achieving them within a specified situation where these decisions should, in principle, be within the power of those actors to achieve” (Howlett and Ramesh 1995, p. 5, quoting Jenkins 1978). Any organization can have policies, but the focus here is on public policy.
  • Policy failure: A situation in which government policies and practices create inefficiencies in the use of goods and services. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Policy making: A rationalist and linear perspective assumes that policymaking has sequential steps from problem formulation, to evaluation of alternatives, to implementation (policy as prescription; Mackintosh 1992). This perspective is associated with expert managerial approaches to intervention and with thinking in terms of models to be applied generally. Policymaking can also be seen as an inherently political activity, with different perceptions and interests contested at all stages (policy as process; Mackintosh 1992). Policy is a bargained outcome, the environment is conflictful, and the process is characterized by diversity and constraint. The intervention perspective emphasizes negotiation, participatory design and implementation, and situation specificity (Gordon, Lewis, and Young 1997). These different perspectives on policy directly translate into different understandings of reform, of transforming policy, institutions, organizations, and governance structures
  • Policy-maker: A person with power to influence or determine policies and practices at an international, national, regional, or local level. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • “Poor livestock keepers” are defined as those people who live in rural areas, that have livestock and that are below the national poverty lines established by the World Bank for each country. 
  • Poverty: Most development agencies and development banks understand poverty as multi-dimensional with both material and non-material aspects being stressed.  Key elements of poverty are: inability to satisfy basic needs, lack of control over resources, lack of education and skills, poor health, malnutrition, lack of shelter and access to water supply and sanitation, vulnerability to shocks and lack of political freedom and voice (see Poverty and Water Security: John Soussan and Wouter Lincklaen Arriens,  2003: 12).
  • Poverty line: The most commonly used way to measure poverty is based on incomes. A person is considered poor if his or her income level falls below some minimum level necessary to meet basic needs. This minimum level is usually called the "poverty line".   What is necessary to satisfy basic needs varies across time and societies.Therefore, poverty lines vary in time and place, and each country uses lines which are appropriate to its level of development, societal norms and values." In World Bank. 2006. The World Bank Online). People below 1 USD or below 2 USD are the poverty lines most frequently used
  • Production: Production is the same as output. It is a physical produce and can be reported in units of volume or weight. For instance, cereal production would be reported in metric tonnes. In (DFID. 2004. Agriculture, growth and poverty reduction: the role of agriculture. Working Paper 1. DFID, London.).
  • Productivity: Productivity is defined as output per unit of input, where 'input' can be land, labour and / or capital, and 'output' is agricultural produce. The importance of productivity, however precisely defined, is that it gives a measure for efficiency. It tells us in one figure how much input was used to produce a unit of output. (DFID. 2004. Agriculture, growth and poverty reduction: the role of agriculture.Working Paper 1. DFID, London.).
  • Protected area: Protected area means a geographically defined area which is designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives. (UNCED. 1992. Convention on biological diversity. Concluded at Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992. Article 2.).
  • Public good – where one individual may benefit from the existence of some environmental good or service without reducing the benefit another individual can receive from the same good or service.
  • Recycled water (R): Water that has already been diverted at least once upstream. The difference between total diversions and primary water is the amount of water that is recycled. Recycling takes place, for example, by reusing drainage water or pumping groundwater.
  • Reference crop evapotranspiration (ETo): The rate of evapotranspiration from an extensive surface of 8 to 15 cm tall, green grass cover of uniform height, actively growing, completely shading the ground and not short of water.
  • Renewable water resources (RWR): Average annual flow of rivers and recharge of groundwater generated from endogenous precipitation plus incoming flow originating outside the country, taking into consideration the quantity of flows committed to upstream and downstream countries through formal and informal agreements or treaties. This gives the maximum theoretical amount of water available for the country (definition by FAO, data by WRI).
  • Resilience : Resilience (as it applies to integrated systems of people and nature) is the amount of change a system can undergo and still remain within the same state (producing essentially the same ecosystem services), is capable of self-organization, and can adapt to changing conditions (Carpenter et al. 2001).
  • River basin: the geographical area defined by the watershed limits of a system of streams converging towards the same terminus, generally the sea or sometimes a sink. This definition must sometimes be adapted, for example when the basin aquifers overlap with other adjacent basins, when the final reach includes a delta that is shared by several rivers, or when surface water is diverted to cities or to irrigate areas that partly or fully belong to other basins.
  • River Basin closure:  is the situation where more water is used than is renewably available in a river basin. When river discharges fall short of meeting downstream commitments -such as flushing out sediments, diluting polluted water, controlling salinity intrusion or sustaining estuarine and coastal ecosystems- during part of or all of the year, basins (or subbasins) are said to be closing or closed.This definition differs from the hydrologic definition of a closed basin, where rivers do not discharge into the ocean but to internal seas, lakes or other sinks.
  • River basin Open: is said of river basins where there is still enough water flowing through the system from up to downstream to allow for all the natural processes to take place.However, in relatively open river basins much stricter scrutiny of new infrastructure development is needed from decision-makers to avoid over-commitment of water resources.
  • River basin organization (RBO): RBOs is a generic term for a high diversity of organizations. RBOs include negotiation platforms (for example between countries or states of a same federation); basin development agencies (in charge of overall planning, construction, and management); regulatory or management bodies (data collection, masterplan, registration of users and granting of licenses, sectoral allocation plans…); Stakeholder forums (forum for negotiation, access to information, confrontation of viewpoints, conflict-resolution, etc). Both their role/power and their legal status vary widely.
  • River basin development: The refers to the idea of constructing numerous dams on a river for multiple purposes (navigation, power, irrigation, flood control) and to having a central planning and development for the whole basin. It led to the formulation of water development plans for an entire river basin.
  • Salinisation : The accumulation of soluble salts at the surface or at some point below the surface of the soil conditions to levels that have negative effects on plant growth and/or on soils. This occurs due to water evaporation leaving behind salts that were dissolved in water. Salinisation can be from capillary rise of saline groundwater or resulting from irrigation with saline water.
  • Social / societal learning processes: Social learning processes imply normatively oriented transformations of face-to face interaction between people acting as individuals or small groups. Societal learning processes refer to normatively oriented transformations of interaction between collective actor categories such as medium to large organizations that are relevant for the processes of structuring of the societies. Societal learning processes aim for the enhancement of the capacity of social organizations to respond creatively to new situations, constraints, and opportunities and to shape new trajectories for development. In (Rist, S. et al. 2006. Moving from sustainable management to sustainable governance of natural resources: The role of social learning processes in rural India, Bolivia and Mali. Journal of Rural Studies (forthcoming).
  • Social cost – the total cost to society of an economic activity.
  • social engineering: It  is used in the CA in a narrow sense to refer to linear models for changing societies or organizations, where blueprints are used to replicate a structure in a new context, that may have worked elsewhere. Application of this model to achieve social change—if x then y follows—is based on a misunderstanding of the complex, nondeterministic, and stochastic nature of social organizations. Social engineering as used here does not imply pessimism about the possibility of facilitating and guiding social change, but cautions against oversimple prescriptions.
  • Soil and water conservation (SWC): Soil and water conservation is a combination of appropriate technology and successful approach. Technologies promote the sustainable use of agricultural soils by minimising soil erosion, maintaining and/or enhancing soil properties, managing water, and controlling temperature. Approaches explain the ways and means which are used to realise SWC in a given ecological and socio-economic environment. In (Hurni, H. et al. 1996. Precious Earth: From Soil and Water Conservation to Sustainable Land Management. International Soil Conservation Organisation (ISCO), and Centre for Development and Environment,Berne,89pp.)
  • Soil erosion : The detachment and movement of soil from the land surface by wind and water in conditions influenced by human activities. In (Bergsma, E., Charman, P., Gibbons, F., Humi, H., Moldenhauer, W.C., and S. Panichapong. 1996. Terminology for Soil Erosion and Conservation. ISSS International Society of  Soil Science, Vienna).
  • Soil moisture: The percentage of water in the soil (ICID, 1996). Water in the soil available to plants. It is normally taken as the water amount in the soil between wilting point and field capacity (WMO, 1990).
  • Soil quality: The capacity of a specific kind of soil to function, within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitation. In short, the capacity of the soil to function. (Natural Resources Conservation Service, United State of Agriculture.Accessed 16 September 05)
  • Stakeholder: An actor having a stake or interest in a physical resource, ecosystem service, institution, or social system, or someone who is or may be affected by a public policy. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Irrigation: The process of providing additional water to stabilise or increase yields under site conditions where a crop can normally be grown under direct rainfall, the additional water being insufficient to produce a crop. The concept consists in making up rainfall deficits during critical stages of the crops in order to increase yields.
  • Sustainability: A characteristic or state whereby the needs of the present and local population can be met without compromising the ability of future generations or populations in other locations to meet their needs. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington, DC).
  • Sustainable development: Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In (World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). 1987. Our Common Future. Oxford University Press, Oxford).
  • Sustainable land management (SLM): This is a system of technologies and/or planning that aims to integrate ecological with socio-economic and political principles in the management of land for agricultural and other purposes to achieve intra- and intergenerational equity. In (Hurni, al. 1996. Precious earth: From Soil and Water Conservation to Sustainable Land Management. International Soil Conservation Organisation (ISCO), and Centre for Development and Environment, Berne, 89 pp. Adapted from personal communication with Hari Eswaran, USDA, June 1996)
  • Sustainable Livelihoods Approach: A holistic approach that tries to provide a means of understanding, the fundamental causes and dimensions of poverty and sketch out the relationships between the different aspects (causes, manifestations) of poverty, allowing for more effective prioritisation of action at an operational level. ( )
  • Sustainable use of natural resources: Natural resource use is sustainable if specific types of use in a particular ecosystem are considered reasonable in the light of both the internal and the external perspective on natural resources. "Reasonable" in this context means that all actors agree that resource use fulfils productive, physical, and cultural functions in ways that will meet the long-term need of the population affected. In (Bruschweiler, S.; Hoggel, U., and A. KHiy.2004. Forests and Water: Managing Interrelations. Series E: Development and Environment Reports No 19 Geographica Bernensia and CDE (Centre for Development and Environment), Bern. 48pp).
  • Total diversions (TD) (Total water supply): This is the amount of water diverted from its natural courses to various uses. Typically, in water resource systems, water is recycled. Total diversions equal PWS plus recycled water. Thus, total diversions are often larger than primary water supply and could be larger than potential utilizable water resources.
  • Trade-off: Management choices that intentionally or otherwise change the type, magnitude, and relative mix of services provided by ecosystems (from Millenium Ecosystem assessment).
  • Transdisciplinarity: A new form of learning and problem solving involving cooperation among different parts of society and academia in order to meet complex social challenges. In (NCCR Glossary 2005: Humi, H., Wiesmann, U., and R. Schertenleib (eds). 2004.Research for Mitigating Syndromes of Global Change. A Transdisciplinary Appraisal of Selected Regions of the World to Prepare Development-Oriented Research Partnerships. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, University of Berne, Vol. Geographica Bemensia, Bern. 468 pp. after Haberli et al., 2001)
  • Tropical livestock unit (TLU) is used for generalizations about livestock distributions and their interactions with water resources : One TLU is equivalent to a 250 kg live weight animal.  The TLU is a useful estimator of animal biomass, but it is imprecise because of significant variation of animal weights within species, among herds and among production systems.
  • Typology of irrigation systems (used by CA): 1) large scale, public, irrigation systems in dry areas growing mostly staple crops; 2) large scale, public, paddy irrigation systems in humid areas; 3) small-medium scale community managed systems., 4) commercial privately managed systems producing for local & expert markets, 5) farm scale, individually managed systems producing for local markets, often around cities.
  • Undernutrition: The result of food intake that is insufficient to meet dietary energy requirements continuously, poor absorption, and(or poor biological use of nutrients consumed. (IPCC. 2001. IPCC Third Assessment Report: Climate Change 2001. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  • Undernourishment: Food intake that is continuously inadequate to meet dietary energy requirement. (United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition. 2004. 5th Report on the World Nutrition Situation. Nutrition for improved development outcomes.)
  • Urban and sub-urban agriculture: Perceived as agricultural practices within and around the cities which compete for resources (land, water, energy, labour) that could also serve other purposes to satisfy the requirements of the urban population. Important sectors of UPA include horticulture, fodder and milk production, aquaculture, and forestry including non wood forest products as well as ecological services provided by agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Often irrigated areas.
  • Utilizable water resources (UWR): That part of the water resources, which is considered to be available for development. This figure considers factors such as the dependability of the flow floods, extractable groundwater, minimum flow required for nonconsumptive use, etc. Also called water development potential or manageable water resources.
  • Valuation – quantification of the values of a good or service.
  • Value: Worth, desirability, or utility based on individual preferences. The total value of any resource, action or object is the sum of the values of the different individuals involved in their use. (IPCC. 2001. IPCC Third Assessment Report: Climate Change 2001. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. modified).
  • Value systems: Norms and percepts that guide human judgment and action. In (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC)
  • Vector Control: Process of controlling a (water-borne) disease, parasite or infection by control of the carrier.
  • Virtual Water: The water used to grow exported food
  • Vulnerability: The characteristics of a person, group, or an ecosystem and their situation that influence their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a (natural) hazard (adapted from Wisner et al. 1994).
  • Vulnerability: The propensity of social or ecological systems to suffer harm from external stresses and perturbations. Involves the combination of sensitivity to exposures and adaptive measures to anticipate and reduce future harm. (Kasperson I.X., Kasperson, RE., and B.L.Tumier. 1995. Regions at Risk: Comparisons of Threatened Environments. United Nations University Press, New York.).
  • Water which is of no further immediate value to the purpose for which it was used or in the pursuit of which it was produced because of its quality, quantity or time of occurrence. However, waste water from one user can be a potential supply to a user elsewhere. Cooling water is not considered to be waste water
  • Waste Water treatment: Process to render waste water fit to meet applicable environmental standards or other quality norms for recycling or reuse. Three broad types of treatment are distinguished in the questionnaire: primary, secondary and tertiary . For purposes of calculating the total amount of treated waste water, volumes and loads reported should be shown only under the "highest" type of treatment to which it was subjected.
    NB : Waste water treatment does not include collection of sewage or storm water, even when no treatment will be possible without collection.
  • Water account (water budget) : Balance of inflow and outflow of water per unit area or unit volume and unit time taking into account net changes of storage.
  • Water charge (water rate, irrigation rate) A charge levied on the beneficiaries for supplying irrigation water. It may be based on or cover one or more of the following:
    (i) O&M expenses;
    (ii) depreciation charges for the whole or part of the project and O&M expenses;
    (iii) other criteria which may cover, exceed or not cover the working expenses and interest on investment.
  • Consumptive water use: Water abstracted which is no longer available for use because it has evaporated, transpired, been incorporated into products and crops, consumed by man or livestock, ejected directly to the sea or into evaporation areas (blind watershed) or otherwise removed from freshwater resources.  Water losses during the transport of water between the point or points of abstraction and the point or points of use are excluded.
  • Water cycle: The process by which water is transpired and evaporated from the land and water, condensed in the clouds, and precipitated out onto the earth once again to replenish the water in the bodies of water on the earth. (NASA earth observatory glossary).
  • Water depletion (final water consumption) is a use or removal of water from a basin that renders it unavailable for further use. Water is consumed by four processes: evaporation, flows to sinks, pollution and incorporation into a product (f.e. water taken up by crops incorporated into plant tissues).
  • Water harvesting: It is defined as ‘the collection of runoff for its productive use (Siegert, 1992). More precisely, it is the process of collecting and concentrating rainfall as runoff from a larger catchment area to be used in a smaller area. The collected water is either directly applied to the cropping area and stored in the soil profile for immediate uptake by the crop (e.g. runoff farming) or stored in a water reservoir for future productive use.
  • Water logging: State of land in which the water table is located at or near the surface resulting in yield of crops decline. If the land is not cultivated, It can not be put into its normal use because of the high sub-soil water table. Drainage can be used to solve the problem..
  • Water management in agriculture : For the CA, agricultural water management refers to the broad management of water for food production in all its different forms for crop production (including irrigation, water harvesting and rain and soil moisture -management of rainwater-) and for animal production (fishery and livestock husbandry) to support rural livelihoods, food production, and land rehabilitation. As shown in the figure below, there is a continuum between the intensive withdrawal of water (100% irrigated) and the dependence on only rainfall of water management systems and farming systems. Statistics on agricultural water management (aquastat, FAO) are limited to the sum of total land under irrigation (full or partial control irrigation -equipped, including equipped lowlands) and other water managed areas for agriculture -spate irrigation areas, flood recession cropping areas, (non-equipped) cultivated lowlands-. It does not account for rainwater harvesting areas as they contribute to water gathering for some of the water managed areas already accounted for. (aquastat, fao)
  • Profile of the Water Poor: 1) Those whose livelihood base is persistently threatened by severe drought or flood; 2) Those whose livelihood depends on cultivation of food and natural products and whose water source is not dependable; 3) Those whose livelihood base is subject to erosion, degradation, or confiscation (e.g., for construction of major water infrastructure) without due compensation; 4) Herders, fishers, lower riparian agricultural communities, and those depending on mangrove forests in delta regions vulnerable to loss of water access or increasingly polluted water because of water developments upstream; 5) Those households whose livelihoods depended upon adequate fresh water flows such as fishing communities, small livestock herders and are often severely affected., 6) Those whose water rights are often tenuous and not protected by the state;  7) Farmers who cannot afford to invest in improved agricultural practices because of the high risk and uncertainty of rain and markets, which could be reduced by a little water at the right time;8) Subsistence farmers who are constrained in producing fruits, vegetables, meat and grains, because of lack of access to water; 8) Those living in areas with high levels of water-associated disease (Bilharzia, malaria, trachoma, cholera, typhoid, etc.) without any means of protection.
  • Water productivity: Water productivity is an efficiency term quantified as a ration of product output (goods and services) over water input. The output could be biological goods or products such as crop (grain fodder) or livestock (meat, egg, fish) and can be expressed in term of yields, nutritional value or economic return. The output could also be an environment service or function. Water productivity can be at different scales and for a mixture of goods and services. Three major expressions of water productivity can be identified: 1) the amount of carbon gain per unit of water transpired by the leaf or by the canopy (photosynthetic water productivity); 2) the amount of water transpired by the crop (biomass water productivity); or 3) the yield obtained per unit amount of water transpired by the crop (yiel water productivity). (Synthesis - The Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture).
  • Water suitability: 1) the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of water in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose (Lo, 1992); 2) applicability of water for irrigation. This is determined by the amount and the type of salt. To determine the water quality the potential salinity, water infiltration rate and toxicity are taken into account ( FAO, 1989)
  • Water resources management: is defined as the decision-making, manipulative, and non-manipulative processes by which water is protected, allocated, or developed. [Source Nevada's Water Dictionary].
  • Water stress: A country is water-stressed if the available freshwater supply relative to water withdrawals acts as an important constraint on development. Withdrawals exceeding 20% of renewable water supply has been used as an indicator of water stress. (IPCC. 2001. IPCC Third Assessment Report: Climate Change 2001. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK).
  • Water Use: This represents water withdrawn or used by humans. After use water can either leave as blue water or green water. If it leaves as green water it is called consumptive water use.
  • Water user association: Association of water users combining both governance and management functions (they are not the owners of the infrastructure).
  • Water withdrawals for human use: it includes withdrawals for municipal use, industrial use and agricultural use.
  • 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). It is to be distinguished from water related and water based diseases. Water based diseases are those in which water provides the habitant for host organisms of parasites ingested ( for example shistomasomiasis); water related diseases are those in which insect vectors rely on water as habitat but transmission is not through direct contact with water for example, malaria or onchocerciasis). UNCED, 1992)
  • Watershed: The area which supplies water by surface and subsurface flow from precipitation to a given point in the drainage system. In (Bergsma, E., Charman,  P., Gibbons, F., Humi, H., Moldenhauer, W.C., and S.Panichapong. 1996. Terminology for Soil Erosion and Conservation. ISSS International Society of Soil Science, Vienna).]
  • Watershed or River basin management: Planned used of watersheds (river basins) in accordance with predetermined objectives.
  • Watershed management: Use, regulation and treatment of water and land resources of a watershed to accomplish stated objectives. (Bergsma, E., Charman, P., Gibbons, F., Humi, H., Moldenhauer, W.C., and S. Panichapong. 1996. Terminology for Soil Erosion and Conservation. ISSS International Society of Soil Science, Vienna).
  • Well-being: A context- and situation-dependent state, comprising basic material for a good life, freedom and choice, health, good social relations, and security. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A Framework for Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC).
  • Wetland function – processes among and within the various biological, chemical and physical components of a wetland, such as nutrient cycling, biological productivity and groundwater recharge.
  • Wetlands: Areas of marsh, fen , peatland or water, water natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine waters, the depth of which at low tide do not exceed six metres.
  • watersheds: Tributary subbasins or basins more limited in size (typically from tens of square kilometers to 1,000 square kilometers) are often called watersheds (in American English), while catchment is frequently used in British English as a synonym for river basins, watershed being more narrowly defined as the line separating two river basins. The CA chapter 17 is mainly concerned with river basins.
  • Watershed management is based on recognition of the watershed area as the spatial integrator and appropriate unit for managing land and water resources based on hydrological principles of upstream-downstream linkages. Thus, watershed management projects generally aim at establishing an enabling environment for such integrated management to accomplish resource conservation and biomass production objectives (Jensen 1996). A coordinated, multiobjective dynamic involving many sectors and stakeholders is implied, with an emphasis on community-level activities in governance and improved production and conservation technology.