Glossary

Summary overview schema

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Terms used in this report for different types of water stress situations, as determined by their primary causes and their duration/frequency.

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Drought                                              A drought refers to a temporary water shortage which starts with reduced levels of precipitation compared to normal (meteorological drought). A drought may then propagate to reduced levels of soil moisture on agricultural land (agricultural drought), reduced levels of natural water flows to surface and groundwater (hydrological drought), and reduced capacity of water resources systems to supply adequate water to water users to meet their normal demands, thus causing losses and damages to socio-economic activities (socio-economic drought). The propagation from one stage to the other is not immediate. There are different lag times before the next stage happens and the capacity to mitigate the propagation depends on the preparedness of each society and the sophistication of its water technology. The duration of droughts may also vary from shorter to prolonged periods of droughts.

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Water scarcity                                  Water scarcity occurs when the water demand for human needs frequently (though not necessarily year-round) exceeds the supply capacity of the natural system in river basins. Water scarcity is the consequence of anthropogenic impacts on the availability of water resources.

                                                               Combination of water scarcity and drought occurrence in river basins exacerbates the impacts of water scarcity not only on ecosystem conditions but also on the maintenance and development of socio-economic life.

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Water shortage                               Water shortage occurs when the water demand for human needs exceeds the supply capacity of the natural system in river basins. When this happens frequently the term water scarcity is used.

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Water stress                                     Water stress refers to the ability, or lack thereof, to meet human and ecological demand for water. Compared to scarcity and shortage, water stress is a more inclusive and broader concept. It considers water scarcity, but also water quality, environmental flows, and the accessibility of water(Schulte, 2020).

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Water consumption                       The water that is captured by the plants and exploited in plant processes for generating biomass and the drinking water being absorbed by humans and animals.

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Water supply                                    Delivery of water to final users including abstraction for own final use (EC 2015).

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Water use                                          Water that is used by the end users for a specific purpose, such as for domestic use, irrigation or industrial processing. This is usually the basis for paying fees. Returned water (at the same place and in the same time period) and recycling is excluded. (EC 2015)

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