3rd and 4th order tributaries

Refers to the hierarchical arrangement of tributaries, where the 1st order tributary is typically the least in size

Agri-environment schemes

Schemes that provide payments to farmers for effective land management to protect the environment and wildlife


Underground layers of water bearing rock

Asset Management Programme

A water company plan that sets out its proposed spending plans for the next five years

Biosphere project

Projects focused on designated geographical areas that promote a balance between people and nature

Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy

Documents that outline how much surface and ground water is available for abstraction within a given geographical area


The way in which the status of waterbodies is assigned under the WFD

Cross compliance

The requirement for farmers to comply with a set of statutory management requirements

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

UK Government department responsible for environmental protection, food production, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities

Ecosystem services

Good and processes provided by the natural environment

Ecosystems approach

Managing the environment in a way that protects and values ecosystem services

Good ecological potential

The WFD target objective for artificial and heavily modified waterbodies

Good ecological status

The WFD target objective for surface, transitional and coastal waterbodies

Good Status

The overall objective for waterbodies classified under the WFD

Groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystems

Wetlands that are critically dependant on groundwater flows and/or chemistry

Higher Level Stewardship

An agri-environment scheme that involves complex environmental management over a long period of time by the land managers involved

Indicator species

A biological species that defines a particular environmental characteristic

Marine conservation zones

Designated marine areas to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology

Marine Protected Areas

Zones of the UK’s seas and coasts where wildlife is protected from damage and disturbance

Mitigation measures

Generic descriptions of work required to mitigate against activities that can adversely affect natural environmental processes

National Environment programme

a component of the water company periodic review process –

Natura 2000 sites

A European network of Special Conservation Areas and Special protection Areas designated under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives

Nature Improvement Areas

12 designated areas in which to develop a shared visions to deliver landscape-scale ecological networks collaboratively

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones

A conservation designation for areas of land that drain into nitrate polluted waters, which applies rules on amount and timing of fertiliser application

Water Services Regulation Authority

The economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales

Periodic Price Review

A review of proposed water company spending plans (AMP) to set the price, investment and service package that customers receive. For example, PR09 took place in 2009 prior to AMP 2010-2015

Restoring Sustainable Abstraction Programme

A programme of changes to surface and groundwater abstractions, that seek to find a balance between public and environment needs

River Basin Management Plan

A plan describing the classification of water bodies that make up a river basin district, and the measure required to achieve good ecological status, as required by the WFD

River Basin Planning

The six-year cycle of planning, implementation and review stipulated by the WFD

Safeguard Zones

Areas designated to protect the quality of raw surface and ground water that is abstracted for drinking water supply


A conceptual water quality model designed to calculate the proportional inputs of different pollutants to a river system

Local Nature Partnership

Partnerships working to improve the range of benefits and services provided by good land management

Transitional and coastal waters

Estuaries and coastal waterbodies (out to 1nm)

Transitional zone

River reach where fresh and sea water meets and combines, creating specific ecological conditions and habitat

Water Framework Directive

EU Directive requiring member states to achieve good quantitative and qualitative status in all water bodies by 2015


Defined areas of natural or artificial bodies of water encompassing rivers, lakes, groundwater, estuaries and coastal waters (out to 1nm)


Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting. From an original concept by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.