Glossary of Water Terminology

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Acre Foot The volume of water required to cover one acre of land to a depth of one foot (43,560 cubic feet or 325,851 gallons).
Adjudication The judicial process through which the existence of a water right is confirmed by court decree.
Algae Simple plants containing chlorophyll; most live submerged in water. Microscopic plants which contain chlorophyll and live floating or suspended in water. They also may be attached to structures, rocks or other submerged surfaces. They are food for fish and small aquatic animals. Excess algal growths can impart tastes and odors to potable water. Algae produce oxygen during sunlight hours and use oxygen during the night hours. Their biological activities appreciably affect the pH and dissolved oxygen of the water.
Allotment Total acre feet of water granted on every paid irrigatable acre to be determined by the Project Manager depending on the amount of storage water in Anderson Ranch, Arrowrock dams and Lake Lowell.
Allowance A water accounting figure granted to paid irrigatable acres to be determined at 3.75 acre-feet at the beginning of each water season. Any irrigation water ran over the 3.75 acre-feet will incur an excess fee.
Anderson Carryover Unused Anderson Ranch storage water on a paid account that can be carried to the next irrigation season, but not to exceed 1.5 acre-feet per acre.
Army Corp of Engineers The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approximately 37,000 dedicated Civilians and Soldiers delivering engineering services to customers in more than 130 countries worldwide. Website
Aquifer Underground deposits of sand, gravel, or rock saturated with water. The two major types of aquifers are confined and unconfined.
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Bentonite Used in the occurrence of water seepage. Water loss can be controlled by the application of bentonite sealer which is an environmentally safe way to reduce or eliminate water seepage. Bentonite is a high swelling, chemically unaltered clay that contains no additives. Bentonite is a natural clay which has the characteristic of swelling many times its dry size when it becomes wet.
Breach A gap, rift, hole, or rupture in a dam; providing a break; allowing water stored behind a dam to flow through in an uncontrolled and unplanned manner. An eroded opening through a dam which drains the reservoir. A controlled breach is a constructed opening. An uncontrolled breach is an unintentional opening which allows uncontrolled discharge from the reservoir.
BPBC Acronymn for Boise Project Board of Control.
Bureau of Reclamation The mission of the Bureau of Reclamation is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.
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Camps Field offices or division offices. see link.
Canal A channel, usually open, that conveys water by gravity to farms, municipalities, etc.
CFS Cubic feet per second - rate of water flow at a given point, amounting to a volume of one cubic foot for each second of time. Equal to 7.48 gallons per second, 448.8 gallons per minute, or 1.984 acre feet per day.
Check Boards A board that stretches across a lateral to raise the level of the ditch and create more head preassure to a headgate.
Check Structure A structure used to regulate the upstream water surface and control the downstream flow in a canal.
Cipolletti weir A contracted weir of trapezoidal shape in which the sides of the notch are given a slope of 1 horizontal to 4 vertical.
Cloud Seeding A form of intentional weather modification, is the attempt to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud.
Combination of Serials The Combination of Serials/Assessments form is to combine assessment numbers that you own and/or rent. The combination form is used to help eliminate potential Excess Water Delivery Charges. This form must be filed with the Boise Project Board of Control by September First of each year.
Crossing Agreement  
Cruzen Water A specific water measurement.
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Delivery System System of ditches, or conduits and their controls, which conveys water from the supply canal to points of delivery.
Delivery Box Structure diverting water from a canal to a farm unit often including measuring devices. Also called delivery site, delivery facility, and turnout.
Department of Water Resources The Idaho Department of Water Resources serves the people of Idaho and protects their welfare by making sure water is conserved and available to sustain Idaho's economy, ecosystem and the resulting quality of life. Website
Ditch Rider Measures or estimates diversions of water from canals to water users. Writes reports and records daily deliveries, number of users, amount of water used, and other data required by law or company.
Diversion Dam Barrier built in a stream for the purpose of diverting part or all of the water from the stream into a canal.
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Easement An easement gives one party the right to go onto another party's property. That property may be owned by a private person, a business entity, or a group of owners. Utilities often get easements that allow them to run pipes or phone lines beneath private property.
Evaporation The process of changing a liquid to a gas (vapor); for example, when water turns into steam or water vapor.
Excess Water Any amount of water on a paid account that exceeds 3.75 acre-feet per acre will be charged an excess fee for delivery.
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Flood irrigation Method of irrigation where water is applied to the soil surface without flow controls, such as furrows, borders or corrugations.
Flow rate Rate of flow or volume per unit period of time.
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GIS A geographic information system (GIS) lets us visualize, question, analyze, interpret, and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns, and trends.
GPS Which stands for Global Positioning System, is a radio navigation system that allows land, sea, and airborne users to determine their exact location, velocity, and time 24 hours a day, in all weather conditions, anywhere in the world. The capabilities of today’s system render other well-known navigation and positioning “technologies”—namely the magnetic compass, the sextant, the chronometer, and radio-based devices—impractical and obsolete. GPS is used to support a broad range of military, commercial, and consumer applications.
Gopher Hole A hole in the ground made by gophers hollow, hole - a depression hollowed out of solid matter.
Ground Water The water beneath the surface of the ground, consisting largely of surface water that has seeped down: the source of water in springs and wells.
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Head, Elevation Head as a result of elevation above a defined datum.
Head Loss Energy loss in fluid flow.
Head, Pressure Pressure energy in a liquid system expresses as the equivalent height of a water column above a given datum.
Head Gate Water control structure at the entrance to a conduit or canal.
Herbicide Chemical substance designed to kill or inhibit the growth of plants, especially weeds.
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Idaho Legislature Title 42 Irrigation and Drainage -- Water Rights and Reclamation information
Idaho Water Users' Association IWUA is organized to promote, aid and assist the development, control, conservation, preservation and utilization of the water resources of the State of Idaho.
Inverted Siphon A pipe for conducting water beneath a depressed place.
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Lateral A lateral is a named ditch that moves irrigation water to all headgates along its route.
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Maintenance Road A ditchside road used to operate and maintain canals and laterals.
Measuring Device A gauge used to measure the flow of water over a weir ordered by a water user.
Miners Inch A water measurement equal to a flow of 9 gallons per minute.
Moss Growth that if left unmanaged, can alter the flow of ditches, laterals and canals.
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Natural Drain A natural removal of surface and sub-surface water from a given area.
Natural River Flow Also known as discharge or rate of water flow, is the volume of water which passes through a given cross-section of the river channel per unit time. It is typically measured in cubic feet per second (cfs).
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Otto Otter Program A program created to bring awareness to the dangers of children and animals by canals, laterals and ditches.
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Paidups (paid up list) A list generated by each individual irrigation district of water user accounts that have been cleared for water delivery.
Percentage Loss The difference between the water entering the supply system and water used. All systems experience some water loss as an ordinary part of operation. Water loss is also called 'Percentage Loss' to distinguish it from losses that occur for known reasons.
Pink Card A form signed by land owners that will determine the responsibility of excess on a specfic land right.
Point of Diversion A specifically named place where water is removed from a body of water.
Project Manager The Manager/Director of the Boise Project Board of Control.
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Recharge Ground water supplies are replenished, or recharged, when rain or snowmelt enters the saturation zone.
Reservoir A natural or artificial place to store water; water storage created by building a dam; a pond, lake, or basin used for the storage, regulation, and control of water.
Ridenbaugh Water Water delivered by the Boise Project for specific water rights from the Ridenbaugh canal.
Rights-of-Way Rights-of-way refers to land or any interest in land acquired for the purpose of public or private rights-of-use and/or passage (including persons, vehicles, and heavy equipment) and erecting, laying, placing, and maintaining drains, ditches, pipes, and transmission lines or wires for the conveyance, transmission, or transportation of water and electric power or for any other purpose necessary for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the project or undertaking. These are usually referred to as easements in Reclamation.
River Watermaster The river watermaster manages the water of the Boise River.
Rotation A group of homes or single water users who receive water from the same tap or headgate.
Rotation Schedule A watering schedule created by the rotation manager.
Rotation Manager An elected, appointed or volunteer home owner to help others within his or her rotation get irrigation water. This is not a paid position and is controlled by the users in the rotation or proper water users association. See Title 42 of the Idaho Legislature for rotation rules and laws.
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Safety During the water season the danger of drowning in canals, laterals and ditches are exceptionally high. Please keep children and animals safe.
Seepage The percolation of water through the soil from unlined channels, ditches, watercourses and water storage facilities.
Short Water Year There are many situations that can contribute to a short water year and early allocations, low or poor snowpack is just one of the controlling factors.
Side Lining A cement liner in canals and laterals that help protect against erosion.
Silting A proceedure that can fill gaps in check boards, weirs, weir boxes and headgates.
Single Water User Landowner not on a rotation.
Siphon An inverted U shape which causes a liquid to flow uphill, above the surface of the reservoir, without pumps, powered by the fall of the liquid as it flows down a pipe under the pull of gravity, and is discharged at a level lower than the surface of the reservoir it came from.
Snotel - USDA/NRCS A graphical presentation giving daily updates on the current snow pack percentage of normal.
Snow Pack One of the water sources that fills Anderson and Arrowrock reservoirs, also one factor in determining allotment.
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Tap, Headgate A control structure or gate upstream of a lock or canal; A floodgate that controls the flow of water, as in a ditch.
Trenching The process of digging a trench in an access road to alleviate seepage.
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Water Year The time period of when water is available for irrigational use. Generally, April to mid-October of each year.
Watermaster Manages operations and maintenance of Project canals, laterals and ditches within a division.
Water Users' Association Laws About Rotations and Ditches from the Idaho Legislature site. The Idaho Code is the property of the state of Idaho and is made available on the Internet as a public service.
Water Order Cards (yellow, blue, green) These cards are daily forms used to order irrigation water. See how to fill out a water card.
Water Records (data) Records kept in our database.
Water Right A water right is authorization to use water in a prescribed manner, not to own the water itself. Without diversion and beneficial use, there is no water right.
Water Table The upper level of ground water; the level below which soil and rock are saturated with water.
Water Transfer The transfer of irrigation water from one account to another.
Weed Rack (trash rack) A collection point for debris.
Weir A weir is a barrier across a delivery ditch or lateral designed to alter the flow characteristics. In most cases, weirs take the form of a barrier, smaller than most conventional dams that causes water to pool behind the structure (not unlike a dam) and allows water to flow over the top. Weirs are commonly used to measure the flow irrigation water.


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