Managing freshwater quality: Challenges for regional councils.

Catchment – The entire area from which a stream or river receives its water. When it rains, the water flows naturally over and through the soil to the lowest point on the land, forming into springs, wetlands, and small streams that feed into larger streams and rivers as they run downhill. Eventually, all the streams and rivers in a catchment join and have the same outlet to the sea. Natural features such as ridges and hills form the boundaries of a catchment.

Dairy effluent – refers to a mixture of dung, urine, water, and milking plant wash water that is created in dairy milking sheds each day.

Discharge – deliberate or accidental deposit or release of any substance to air, water, or land.

Ecosystem – a dynamic complex of plant, animal, and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.

Environmental values – these reflect the community's aspirations for the water in its region, and the level of water quality desired. They can include ecological function and biodiversity, natural character, natural features and landscape, cultural and spiritual values, scenic and amenity values, contact recreation, and mauri (life force) and mahinga kai (customary places where food is collected or produced).

Freshwater – all water except geothermal water and coastal water. Freshwater may be surface water or groundwater.

Groundwater – freshwater that occupies or moves through openings, cavities, or spaces in geological formations in the ground.

Non-point source discharge – a discharge of water or contaminant that enters a water body from a diffuse source.

Periphyton – algae that grow on the beds of rivers, streams and lakes that turn dissolved nutrients into nutritious food (periphyton biomass) for invertebrates, which are themselves food for fish and birds.

Permitted activity – an activity allowed by a regional plan without a resource consent if it complies in all respects with any conditions specified in the plan.

Point source discharge – a discharge of water or contaminant that enters a water body at a definable point.

Resource consent – a permit to carry out an activity that would otherwise contravene the Resource Management Act 1991. Requirements included as part of the resource consent are known as resource consent conditions.

Riparian – relates to the strip of land next to a water body, which contributes to maintaining and enhancing the natural functioning, quality, and character of the water body.

Significant non-compliance (with resource consents or rules in a regional plan) – a significant issue causing contaminants to enter water, such as unauthorised direct discharges of effluent to drains and streams, or excessive application of dairy effluent leading to groundwater pollution.

Surface water – water in all its physical forms that is on the ground, flowing or not, but excludes coastal water and geothermal water.

State of the Environment – a type of environmental monitoring and reporting that provides a snapshot of information about the environment and how it is changing over time.

Unitary authority – a combined regional council and territorial authority (city or district council).

Water body – a river, lake, stream, pond, wetland, or groundwater.

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