Acre-foot (AF)

An acre is about the size of a football field. An acre-foot is the amount of water that would cover one acre of land one foot deep. It equals 325,800 gallons. That is about how much water five people use a year for drinking, washing, and landscape watering.


A geologic formation that stores, transmits and yields significant quantities of water to wells and springs. – Water Education Foundation

Anadromous Fish

Pertaining to fish that spend a part of their life cycle in the sea and return to freshwater streams to spawn.

Bay-Delta Standards

Standards to balance and protect all beneficial uses of San Francisco Bay-Delta water – including fishery and other instream uses – and to modify existing water rights if necessary to achieve that balance. – Volume I of United States Bureau of Reclamation American River Water Resources Investigation (USBR ARWRI)

Best Management Practices (Water Conservation)

A policy, program, practice, rule, regulation or ordinance of the use of devices, equipment or facilities which is an established and generally accepted practice that results in more efficient use or conservation of water, or a practice that has been proven to indicate that significant conservation benefits can be achieved. – MOU Regarding Water Conservation in California

California Environmental Quality Act

An act conceived primarily as a means to require public agency decision makers to document and consider the environmental implications of their actions. – Guide to the California Environmental Quality Act: Remy & Thomas

Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA)

This Act amends the Central Valley Project (CVP) reauthorization act of 1937 and reauthorized the CVP to add mitigation, protection, and restoration of fish and wildlife as project purposes equal to agricultural and domestic uses, and to make fish and wildlife enhancement a project purpose equal to power. – USBR ARWRI


Cubic feet per second. One cubic foot is about 7 ½ gallons.

Change of Service

Point of time at which a water service account is transferred.

Changed Conditions

This refers to significant changes in circumstances such as laws, regulations, and even the health of the river which may occur after a Water Forum Agreement is signed. If there are changed conditions which may interfere with implementation of the agreement, the Successor Effort would reopen negotiations.

Conjunctive Use

The planned joint use of surface and groundwater to improve overall water supply reliability.

Conservation Pricing

Pricing which provides an incentive to reduce average or peak use, or both. – MOU Regarding Water Conservation in California

Contractual Entitlement

A water entitlement based on a contract, such as a contract with the United States Bureau of Reclamation for Central Valley Project water.


A case where the financial benefits of a project are greater than the overall cost.

CVPIA Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

The program level document prepared by the United States Bureau of Reclamation on the Central Valley Project Improvement Act to comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Deal Breaker

A person, organization, or entity who causes a bargain or agreement to fail.


The state, ideal, or quality of being just, impartial, and fair.

Fishery Flow Pattern

Pattern of river flows needed for spawning, incubation and rearing of young fish as well as migration of juvenile and adult fish. – Water Education Foundation

For purposes of the Water Forum Agreement, the Improved Pattern of Fishery Flow Releases is defined as the AFRP flow objective for the lower American River as set forth in the November 20, 1997 “Department of the Interior Final Administrative Proposal on the Management of Section 3406(b)(2) Water.”


The water in an aquifer. For human use and consumption this water is generally pumped to the surface through a well.

Inter-basin Transfer

Water transfers from entities outside of a watershed to entities within a watershed.

Interior Audit Program

A program which identifies the top water users and offers a water use audit service that will identify where water can be saved and provides incentives sufficient to achieve customer implementation. – MOU Regarding Water Conservation in California

Landscape Efficiencies

What is achieved through skillful planting and irrigation design, appropriate use of plant materials, and intelligent management to assure landscape development that avoids excessive demands and is less vulnerable to periods of severe drought. – Water Conservation Ordinance for Landscape Water Conservation

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

A means of gaining formal consensus between two or more parties on a particular complex issue.

Meter Retrofit Programs

Programs targeted toward unmetered homes and businesses which either install a new meter or repair an existing meter to provide for billing based on volume of use. – MOU Regarding Water Conservation in California


Million gallons per day.

Point of Diversion

The place along the stream channel where a diverter takes control of the water. – How to File an Application to Appropriate Water, State Water Resources Control Board

Public Trust

The legal doctrine that protects the rights of the public to use water courses for commerce, navigation, fisheries, recreation, open space, preservation of ecological units in their natural state, and similar uses for which those lands are uniquely suited. It is based on the California State Constitution and goes back to English Common Law. The California Supreme Court stated, “The state has an affirmative duty to take the public trust into account in the planning and allocation of water resources, and to protect public trust uses whenever feasible.” – National Audubon (33Cal.3d 419 1983)


An agency or district that provides water to customers for a fee.


Practicable and in accord with reason.

Reclaimed Water

Municipal, industrial or agricultural wastewater treated and/or managed to produce water of quality suitable for additional uses.

Riparian Vegetation

Of, adjacent to, or living on, the bank of a river or, sometimes, of a lake, pond, etc. – Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary


In a negotiation, a person, organization or entity entrusted to represent those with an interest in the outcome. There are 46 stakeholder organizations participating in the Water Forum.

State Water Project

California’s state – owned and operated water project consisting of 22 dams and reservoirs which delivers water 600 miles from the Sacramento Valley to Los Angeles. – Water Education Foundation

Surface Water Diversions

Water that is diverted and/or pumped from above ground sources such as rivers, streams, reservoirs and lakes as opposed to groundwater which is water pumped from the aquifer.

Sustainable Yield

Sustainable yield is a balance between pumping and basin recharge and is expressed as the number of acre-feet of water per year which can be pumped from the basin on a long term average annual basis.


Sinking of the land surface due to a number of factors, of which groundwater extraction is one. – Water Education Foundation

Water Forum

A community collaboration process involving stakeholder organizations and commitment to the co-equal objectives of providing a reliable and safe water supply for the region’s economic health and planned development through the year 2030 and preserving the fishery, wildlife, recreational, and aesthetic values of the lower American River.

Water Forum Agreement

The comprehensive Water Forum Agreement allows the region to meet its needs in a balanced way through implementation of seven elements.  These elements include detailed understanding among stakeholder organizations on how this region will deal with key issues such as groundwater management, water diversions, dry year water supplies, water conservation, and protection of the lower American River.

Ultra-Low Flush (ULF) Toilet

A ULF toilet utilizes 1.6 gallons or less per flush. – MOU Regarding Water Conservation in California