Aboriginal Victorians

    An Aboriginal Victorian is a person of Aboriginal descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and is accepted as such by the Victorian Aboriginal community in which he or she lives.

    Algal blooms

    A rapid increase in the population of algae that can occur in waterways, often caused by excess nutrients (particularly phosphorus and nitrogen).


    Assets are resources that provide benefi t. This includes, for example, infrastructure such as treatment plants, pipes and pumps, water assets such as dams, bores and wetlands, and community assets such as sporting facilities, public gardens and street trees. Natural assets are assets of the natural environment, for example waterways and vegetation, also known as natural capital.


    The numbers and variety of plants, animals and other living beings, including micro-organisms, across our land, rivers and oceans. It includes the diversity of their genetic information, the habitats and ecosystems in which they live and their connections with other life forms.


    An area where water falling as rain is collected by the landscape, eventually flowing to a body of water such as a creek, river, dam, lake or ocean; or into a groundwater system.

    Climate change

    A long term change of the earth’s temperature and weather patterns, generally attributed directly or indirectly to human activities such as fossil fuel combustion and vegetation clearing and burning.

    Climate change mitigation

    Actions that prevent or reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.


    Includes individuals, public and private landholders, community groups and business owners.


    Connections between natural habitats, such as a river channel and adjacent wetland areas. Connectivity is a measure or indicator of whether a waterbody (river, wetland, floodplain) has water connections or flow connections to another body.


    A dynamic complex of plant, animal, fungal and microorganism communities and the associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.

    Environmental water

    Water to support environmental values and ecological processes.

    Fit for purpose (water quality)

    Water of a quality that is appropriate for its intended use.

    Flash flooding

    Sudden and unexpected flooding caused by sudden local heavy rainfall or rainfall in another area. Often defined as flooding which occurs within six (6) hours of the rainfall event.


    Low-lying land adjacent to a river or stream with unique ecosystems dependent on inundation from flood events.


    Movement of water – the rate of water discharged from a source, given in volume with respect to time.

    Green-blue infrastructure

    Green infrastructure refers to key vegetation features such as street trees, parklands, grassed sports fields and vegetated walls. Blue infrastructure refers to key waterways, wetlands, recreational lakes, stormwater retarding basins, or other water body features. Green-blue infrastructure brings these assets together through integrated approaches to deliver community benefits.

    Greenfield land

    Undeveloped land identified for residential or industrial/commercial development, generally on the fringe of metropolitan Melbourne.


    All subsurface water, generally occupying the pores and crevices of rock and soil.

    Heritage River Area

    Land in particular parts of rivers and river catchment areas in Victoria which have significant nature conservation, recreation, scenic or cultural heritage values. These areas are identified and protected under the Heritage Rivers Act 1992. There are 18 Heritage River Areas in Victoria.

    Impervious area

    A surface or area within a catchment that signifi cantly restricts the infi ltration of water. Impervious surfaces can include concrete, road surfaces, roofs and saturated ground such as a lake or pond.


    Development of unused or underutilised land in existing urban areas.


    Basic facilities and networks needed for the functioning of a local community or broader society.

    Integrated water management (IWM)

    A collaborative approach to planning that brings together all elements of the water cycle including sewage management, water supply, stormwater management and water treatment, considering environmental, economic and social benefits.


    A measure of a city’s residents’ quality of life, used to benchmark cities around the world. It includes socioeconomic, environmental, transport and recreational measures.

    Open space

    Includes land reserved for natural landscape, parklands, recreation and active sports, as well as waterways and bays.


    Water of suitable quality for drinking.


    A planned set of interrelated tasks or activities to be executed over a defined period and within certain cost and other considerations, to achieve a goal.


    Water that has fallen as rain or has been collected from rainfall.

    Recycled water

    Water derived from sewerage systems or industry processes that is treated to a standard appropriate for its intended use


    Refers to land or vegetation that adjoins a river, creek, estuary, lake or wetland.

    Riverine flooding

    Inundation of normally dry land occurring when water overflows the natural or artificial banks of a creek or river. Also called main channel flooding.


    The portion of rainfall which actually ends up as streamflow, also known as rainfall excess.


    Wastewater produced from households and industry


    The pipes and plants that collect, remove, treat and dispose of liquid urban waste.


    Runoff from urban areas. The net increase in runoff and decrease in groundwater recharge resulting from the introduction of impervious surfaces such as roofs and roads within urban development. 

    Stormwater flooding

    Inundation by local runoff. Stormwater flooding can be caused by local runoff exceeding the capacity of an urban stormwater drainage system or by the backwater effects of mainstream flooding causing the urban stormwater drainage system to overflow.

    Traditional Owners

    People who, through membership of a descent group or clan, are responsible for caring for Country. Aboriginal people with knowledge about traditions, observances, customs or beliefs associated with a particular area. A Traditional Owner is authorised to speak for Country and its heritage.

    Urban greening

    Growing plants wherever possible in cities to contribute to urban vegetation coverage, and providing a connection to nature.

    Urban heat-island effect

    When the built environment absorbs, traps, and in some cases directly emits heat, causing urban areas to be significantly warmer than surrounding non-urban areas.

    Urban renewal

    The process of planning and redeveloping underutilised medium and large-scale urban areas, precincts or sites for mixed land-use purposes.

    Urban water cycle

    The cycle of water through urban environments. Distinguished from the natural urban water cycle by the transfer of water through built infrastructure and the high runoff rates generated by impervious surfaces.

    Use (water use)

    The volume of water diverted from a stream or groundwater bore. It is not the same as ‘use’ by the end consumer of the water.


    Water that has had its quality affected by human influence, deriving from industrial, domestic, agricultural or commercial activities.

    Water infrastructure

    Facilities, services and installations needed for the functioning of a water system.

    Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

    Integrating the urban water cycle into urban design to minimise environmental damage and improve recreational and aesthetic outcomes.


    Rivers and streams, their associated estuaries and floodplains (including floodplain wetlands) and non-riverine wetlands.


    Areas, whether natural, modified or artificial, subject to permanent or temporary inundation, that hold static or very slow-moving water and develop, or have the potential to develop, biota adapted to inundation and the aquatic environment. Wetlands may be fresh or saline.