Definitions

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We understand that some of the language used to talk about water conservation, finance and legislation can sometimes be hard to decipher. That's why we've provided definitions below as a guide to understanding some of the more uncommon language and terms you may read on our website. You may also download a PDF version of these definitions. 

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us

 Term Definition
 Arizona Department of Environmental Quality  The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) administers the state’s environmental laws and delegated federal programs to prevent and correct air, water, and land pollution.
 Artificial turf   An artificial surface made of synthetic material, which resembles grass. 
 Aquifer  An aquifer is an underground layer of permeable rock, rock fractures, gravel, sand or silt that wells can draw recharged (filtered) water from.  
 Automated Meter Infrastructure   An Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) is an integrated system of smart meters, communication networks (cloud, antennae, etc.), and data management systems that relays precise information from the customer’s meter directly to the city’s billing department.
 Brackish Water  Brackish water is water that has a salty or briny taste to it due to the presence of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and sodium.
 Capital Improvement Program  A Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is a multi-year forecast of the capital needs for the city.  It is designed to identify public facility and infrastructure needs, then create and manage a timely and cost-effective replacement and growth plan.
 Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District  The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) is a division of the Central Arizona Project (CAP) that helps water providers in the Phoenix, Tucson, and Pinal Active Management Area (AMA) demonstrate the required 100-year assured water supply under Arizona Law.  This is done by replenishing, recharging, or otherwise replacing groundwater for places such as Buckeye that do not have the right or access to any (or a sufficient of) renewable water supply such as CAP.
 Central Arizona Project  The Central Arizona Project (CAP) is Arizona’s largest resource for renewable water supplies. The City of Buckeye works with CAGRD to make up for the minimal supply of water the city receives from CAP.
 Clean Water Act  The Clean Water Act of 1972 established the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the U.S. and regulating quality standards for surface waters.
 Commercial Water Use  Commercial water use is water used for motels, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, other commercial facilities and institutions.
 Community Facilities District  A Community Facilities District (CFD) is a special taxing district that allows the financing of the installation, operation and maintenance of public improvements such as roads, water and wastewater facilities, flood control, and drainage projects.
 Drip irrigation system   A method of providing water to plants through small-diameter tubes and emitters to minimize evaporation losses and runoff. The tubing is installed underground. 
 Drought  A drought is a natural disaster in which there is below-average precipitation in the region that causes abnormally low rainfall and a shortage of water.
 Dual flush toilet   Dual-flush toilets have two buttons for flushing, a half flush and full flush. The half flush, for liquid, uses 0.8 gallons per flush. The full flush, for solids, uses 1.28-1.6 gallons per flush depending on the model. 
 Effluent  Sewage or wastewater after it has been treated at a sewage treatment plant. 
 Enterprise Fund  An enterprise fund is separate from all other accounts of the city and is devoted to funding all operations of the enterprise activity with the rates paid by customers.
 Environmental Protection Agency  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an independent agency of the U.S. government that focuses on the protection and preservation of the natural environment.
Gray water   Wastewater in the home from bathroom sinks, bathtubs, showers, and washing machines. Does not include wastewater from toilets, dishwashers, and kitchen sinks. 
 Groundwater Management Act  The Groundwater Management Act of 1980 was designed to allocate the state’s limited groundwater resources while controlling severe overdrafts in the state, and augmenting groundwater through water supply developments.
 Irrigation  Watering landscaping and crops by artificial means to foster plant growth. 
Maricopa County Environmental Services Department The Maricopa Environmental Services Department (MESD) ensures the delivery of safe food, water, waste disposal, and vector borne disease reduction controls within Maricopa County.
 Maximum Contamination Level  The Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) is the greatest amount of a contaminant that can be present in drinking water without causing a risk to human health.
 Over-seeding   Spreading seeds of winter grass (such as rye grass) over a warm weather grass lawn (such as Bermuda grass) to maintain green grass throughout late fall and winter months. Over-seeding is discouraged because water can be conserved (and mowing reduced) by allowing warm weather grass to go dormant and turn brown during winter months. Bermuda grass is dormant in winter and only requires water once every three to four weeks (less if it rains). 
 Potable Water  Potable water is water that is suitable for drinking without any form of treatment.
 Rate Study  A Rate Study is a comprehensive evaluation of a water and wastewater utility that results in a multi-year financial plan that will sustain long-term financial health by ensuring costs are recovered through rates, rates are distributed appropriately, and reserve levels are maintained.
 Recharge Water  Recharge is a hydrolic process where water is naturally filtered as it moves from the surface downward through the unsaturated zone, the water table, the saturated zone and into the aquifer.
 Reclaimed/Reused Wastewater  Reclaimed or Reused Wastewater is effluent from a wastewater treatment plan that has been diverted for beneficial uses such as irrigation, industry use, or thermoelectric cooling instead of being released to an aquifer for recharging.
 Residential Water Use  Residential water is water used for household purposes such as drinking, food preparation, bathing, washing, flushing toilets, and watering lawns and plants.
 Runoff  Water which does not soak into the soil or landscape but flows off of it. Runoff occurs if the water is applied too quickly, for too long a duration, or on too steep a slope. In this document the word runoff does not refer to natural storm water runoff. 
 Safe Water Drinking Act  The Safe Water Drinking Act of 1974 is the federal law that protects public drinking water supplies throughout the nation. 
 Saturated Zone  The saturated zone is the area deep below the ground surface where all the spaces between rocks and debris are filled with water.  This zone is directly above the aquifer.
 Sewer  A sewer is a system of underground pipes that collect water from drains and toilets and send it to a wastewater treatment plant or stream.
 Smart irrigation controller   Smart irrigation controllers use daily local weather data along with historical evapotranspiration data to adjust irrigation system runtimes to meet the water requirements of the landscape. In addition, a smart irrigation controller may be supplied with a combination rain shut-off/temperature sensor which allows the controller to adjust the landscape irrigation based on the local temperature and also to disable irrigation when it rains. 
 Storm Sewer  A storm sewer, or a sanitary sewer, collects surface water such as rain and runoff and discharges the untreated water to streams and other natural water sources.
 Turf   Grass, its roots, and the upper soil bound by grass roots. A lawn composed of grass. 
 Unsaturated Zone  The unsaturated zone is the area immediately below the ground surface that contains groundwater and air in the open spaces amid dirt, rocks and other debris.  Groundwater moves through this zone on its way to the aquifer.
 Wastewater  Wastewater is water that has been affected by human use in the home, a business or as part of an industrial process.  This water is moved through sewage systems to a wastewater treatment plant for processing.
 Water Table  The water table is the top of the saturated zone and typically lies hundreds of feet below the ground surface.
 Xeriscape   Landscaping using drought-resistant plants in an effort to conserve water. Water conserving landscaping that emphasizes plants whose natural requirements are appropriate for the local climate.