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Click on your region below to access the available Toolkits, Story Maps, and more information pertaining to your community.


EPA – US Environmental Protection Agency
FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency
GLAC – Greater Los Angeles County
IRWM – Integrated Regional Water Management Planning Act
Measure W – Safe Clean Water Parcel Tax (LA County)
Prop 1 – Proposition 1, Water Quality, Supply & Infrastructure Improvement Act

SWP – State Water Project
SWRCB – State Water Resources Control Board
USCR – Upper Santa Clara River
VCWPD– Ventura County Watershed Protection District
WCVC – Watershed Coalition of Ventura County
WRPI – California State University’s Water Resources and Policies Initiative

Definition of Terms

Aquifer: formation of porous rock, gravel or sand that holds an underground supply of water. Wells can be used to pump water from aquifers.

Aqueduct: channel or other constructed watercourse that is used to carry water from one place to another.

Bay: a waterbody that is surrounded by land on three sides, and is connected to an ocean, or lake.

Bioretention: a chemical and biological process that treats and removes contaminants from stormwater and urban runoff. Stormwater is collected into the bioretention areas, which are depressed landscaped areas that slow and treat on-site stormwater runoff through various physical, chemical and biological processes.

Clean Water Act: U.S. federal law, passed in 1972, that regulates water quality standards and pollutant discharges.

Contaminants: a harmful or damaging substance.

Constituent: mineral or chemical present in water.

Drainage: the relative process by which water flows and moves through a soil’s profile.

Drought: a period of low rainfall.

Dry Weather Run-Off: the process by which human activities such as car washing, landscape irrigation or street washing indirectly cause contaminants to enter our stormwater system.

Estuary: a water body where fresh water from rivers mixes with tidal saltwater.

Exceedance: a measurement that determines if a concentration of a contaminant is above the established safe threshold and/or a threat to human health.

Infiltration: the process through which water drains and leaches into the earth.

Inlet: an indentation along the coastline, such as a bay, cove, or estuary.

Impervious: not allowing water to flow through or within the surfaces.

Groundwater: surface water that has drained into the ground. This water is stored in underground spaces called aquifers.

Green Infrastructure: a sustainable water management approach that uses biological processes to provide flood protection, clean air, clean water, and diverse habitats.

Flood Management: methods and practices developed to reduce flood risk to the built environment, provide emergency preparedness and response, forecast river levels based on weather conditions, improve water quality and supply reliability, and enhance public safety.

Non-Point Source Pollution: pollution caused indirectly by rainfall or snowmelt that collects various contaminants as it flows through the built environment.

Outlet: an area where water flows into a larger water body.

Pervious: areas or materials which water can pass through.

Point Source Pollution: pollution caused directly by a specific and very localized source, such as a leaking fuel tank or pipe.

Watershed: land area that channels rainfall and snowmelt into creeks, streams, and rivers that flow into a common outlet such as a reservoir, bay or the ocean.

Water Conservation: the protection and preservation of water resources.

Water Recycling: process that reuses treated wastewater as a water resource.

Wastewater treatment: a process that removes contaminants from wastewater or sewage and transforms it into an effluent that can be returned to our water cycle.

Water Quality: the condition and measure of water relative to human health based on biological, chemical and physical parameters.

Rainwater: water that is collected from rain.

Reservoir: a large body of water that stores and holds water. Often created by dams.

Urban Runoff: water that flows through and within the urban environment and collects various contaminants such as motor oil, grease, pesticides, toxins and more.

Stormwater Management: strategies to reduce pollution and improve water quality.

Surface Water: water that flows within and over the surfaces of the built environment.