Glossaire de A à Z


Earth dam

Updated on 06/09/2018
Définition
Sens commun
An embankment, formed of compact earth, built across the bed of a river to create a water reservoir. This is the simplest and oldest type of dam. Its slopes must be soft enough to ensure stability and the earth must be sufficiently impermeable (e.g. clay).
Source
according to the French Committee of Dams and Reservoirs

Earth tide

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Periodic motion of the earth's crust, caused by the tide-generating force due to the moon and the sun.
Source
According to the International Hydrographic Organization

Easement

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Obligation or constraint related to the use of a property, site, and facility. Public utility easements may be established, by legal administrative way after public inquiry, to protect a common good (groundwater resource,…
Source
According to BRGM

Easily usable water reserve

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Amount of soil water below which a plant wilts. The irrigation doses are calculated from the easily usable water reserve (RFU) and we irrigate when the latter is exhausted. It is expressed in mm.
Source
According to the Ministry of Ecology

Eau blanche – milky water

Updated on 04/12/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Wastewater produced during the manufacture of paper or water from the cleaning of premises and equipment of milking parlours, dairies or cheese factories.
Source
according to the Ministry of Agriculture and IOWater

Echinoderm

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Marine animal characterized by a fivefold radial symmetry, protected, depending on the species, by calcareous spikes or more or less developed calcite plates. Echinoderms include the starfishes, crinoid (sea daffodil), sea urchins, sea cucumbers and brittle stars. They have tubular "feet" and are able to move (very) slowly.
Source
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and IOWater

Eco-balance

Updated on 06/09/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Tool used for environmental impact assessments (resources and energy consumption, emissions into the air and water, wastes), taking into account the entire life cycle of products, from their manufacture to their final disposal. The eco-balance provides decision making support elements for public policies (choice of an enhancing process, criteria for eco-labelling of products, etc.) or for industrial purposes (choice of product design and improvement, for example).
Source
according to ADEME

Eco-citizenship

Updated on 06/09/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Individual or collective action to comply with the principles and rules to preserve the environment.
Source
according to the Larousse dictionary

Eco-product

Updated on 06/09/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Product that causes less impact on the environment throughout its life cycle than other products of similar use. The concept of eco-product is thus relative.
Source
according to ADEME

Eco-tax

Updated on 06/09/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Tax levied on a product, a service or an activity that is likely to be harmful to the environment.
Source
according to the services of the Prime Minister

Ecological continuity

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun

For a river, to ensure the free movement of species (in particular fishes) and the smooth flow of sediments.

Source
according to Loire-Bretagne Water Agency and IOWater
Sens technique

Is defined by the free circulation of biological species and good flow of natural river sediment transport. The concept of ecological continuity did not take sediment transport into account until the Water Act of 2006.

Source
according to AFB

Ecological corridor

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Natural environment (land, water or air) for connection between areas of ecological interest, thus ensuring the movement, dispersion of species and allowing them to exploit these areas according to their needs and stabilize their populations in the best way possible. The "Grenelle for the Environment" requests to stop the loss of biodiversity, particularly by setting up a network of ecological corridors called "green belt" and "blue belt".

Source
according to AFB

Ecological engineering

Updated on 04/12/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Carrying out projects that, in their implementation and monitoring, apply the principles of ecological engineering and enable the resilience of ecosystems. Ecological engineering allows recovering natural environments, restoring degraded environments and optimising the functions provided by ecosystems.
Source
according to CELF

Ecological flow

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Minimum flow required to achieve ecological quality goals for associated surface waters. The value of this flow varies for each country.
Source
According to Eurostat

Ecological integrity

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Is known to be achieved for an ecosystem when its abiotic and biotic native components (plants, animals and other organisms) and processes (such as growth and reproduction) or the development of biogeological and natural cycles are intact (dunes or river banks, clearings and edges that are not fixed, etc). For English people, this concept is often called a "healthy ecosystem", that the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC refers to as "good

Source
According to Wikipedia

Ecological niche

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
The space originally occupied by a species in a biotope and all relationships of all kinds it has with the components of this environment and its other inhabitants.
Source
According to Ifremer

Ecological potential

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Goal to be achieved by 2015 for artificial water bodies and heavily modified water bodies in accordance with the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC. The ecological potential of an artificial or heavily modified water body is defined with reference to the most comparable type of surface water bodies. Compared to the values of quality elements for the most comparable type of surface water bodies, the values of good potential take into account the artificial or heavily modified characteristics of the water body. The ecological potential has four classes: good, moderate, poor and bad. Meanwhile the chemical objective remains unchanged.
Source
According to Seine-Normandy Water Agency

Ecological service

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Direct or indirect benefit that man obtains from nature. Ecosystems, and more generally biodiversity, support and provide many services, called ecological or ecosystem services, which are sometimes classified as common and/or public good, often vital or useful services to human beings, other species and economic activities. These services include the self-maintaining services, supply services,

Source
According to Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA)

Ecological status

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Assessment of the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems associated with surface waters. It is based on criteria called quality elements which can be biological (presence of living plants and animals), hydro-morphological and physico-chemical. The ecological status has five classes: very good, good, fair, poor and bad. For each type of water body, it is characterized by a deviation from reference conditions (conditions representative of surface water which is not or very little influenced by human activity). The "very good" ecological status is defined by very small differences due to human activity compared to the reference conditions of the type of water body considered. The "good" ecological status is defined by small deviations due to human activity compared to the reference conditions…
Source
According to Rhine-Meuse Water Agency

Ecology

Updated on 19/06/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Science of interactions between living organisms (including human beings) and the environment, and among living organisms themselves.
Source
According to Rhone-Mediterranean and Corsica Water Agency

Econometric model used

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Models used to analyze the influence of some data on a variable of interest.
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and IOWater

Economic analysis

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Use of analytical methods and economic instruments to help define water management policies under the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Indeed, the goal is to use the economy at several strong points of the WFD implementation: helping achieve environmental objectives - incentive overall price; at the assessment stage, to assess the economic importance of water uses in the district and…

Source
According to the Ministry of Ecology

Economic surplus

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Difference between the willingness to pay the maximum price to acquire a property and the price of this property.
Source
According to Brigitte Desaigues (economist)

Ecoregion

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Geographical entity having homogenous geological, climatic and topographic characteristics, and therefore an assumed homogeneity of the ecological functioning. Conventionally used for terrestrial ecosystems and for understanding vegetation associations, ecoregions can be applied to aquatic ecosystems, this is called freshwater ecoregion.
Source
According to Rhine-Meuse Water Agency

Ecosystem

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun

All living beings (Living communities), non-living elements and climatic and geological conditions (biotope) that are related and interact with each other, and which constitute a basic functional unit in ecology. The ecosystem of an aquatic environment is generally described by: the living beings that are part of it, the nature of the bed and river banks, the characteristics of the catchment area, the hydraulic regime, and the physical-chemical characteristics of water.

Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and AFB

Ecotone

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Transitional zone at the boundary between two ecosystems. These areas are of vital importance for biodiversity as they are very specific: the banks of a river, wetlands, forest edges constitute
Source
According to AFB

Ecotoxicity

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Ability of a substance, because of its toxicity, to produce harmful or troublesome effects on microorganisms, animals, plants or human beings via the environment.
Source
According to BRGM

Ecotoxicology

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Science that studies the impact of chemicals on ecosystems. It takes into account the fate of substances in the environment (biotic and abiotic degradation phenomena) and other toxic effects, the ecotoxicity of substances and the mechanisms by which pollution occurs in the biosphere.
Source
According to BRGM

Effective infiltration

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Amount of infiltrated water (mainly rainfall) reaching down to the water table and contributing to feed the latter. Effective infiltration is sometimes expressed as a percentage of the amount of water received on the surface during the reference period.
Source
According to BRGM

Effective rainfall

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Difference between precipitation and actual evapotranspiration and expressed in mm. Effective rainfall can be calculated directly from climatic parameters and easily used available water (RFU). The water of effective rainfall is distributed to the ground surface into two fractions: runoff and infiltration.
Source
According to the Ministry of Ecology

Effluent

Updated on 19/06/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Wastewater or liquid waste discharged into the environment from a source of pollution whatsoever (industry, agriculture, shipping, operating or not, etc).
Source
According to Ifremer

Elasticity of demand with respect to price

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Percentage of variation in water consumption if we increase by 1% the price per m3. Generally, the elasticity of domestic water consumption is very low, because most uses (drinking water, hygiene, etc) are poorly compressible. In contrast, external consumption (watering, car washing, etc) is much more elastic (sharp drop in case of price increase) because it meets non-essential needs.
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and IOWater

Electric fishing

Updated on 04/12/2018
Définition
Sens commun

Method used to evaluate the abundance of fish species in a portion of a stream and to precise the different populations. It consists in the creation of an electric current which attracts fish. Then, paralyzed by electricity, they rise to the surface, which helps their identification and counts. After a little while, fish are free to circulate in the stream again.

Source
According to Wikipedia et Val-de-Meurthe municipality communities

Electrical conductivity

Updated on 25/02/2019
Définition
Sens technique
Indirect indicator of the concentration of soluble ions ("mineral salts") in water, in relation with the environments it passes through and its residence time.
Source
according to BRGM and AFB

Electronic Data Interchange

Updated on 19/06/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Generic term defining an exchange of information on networks disseminating information from various sources according to specifications or standards.
Source
According to AFB and IOWater

Electronic Data Interchange for laboratories

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Generic term defining the specification approach of the National Service for Water Data and Reference-dataset Management (Sandre) relating to the Electronic Data Interchange between sponsors and service providers (samplers and analytical laboratories) in the field of water.

Source
According to AFB and IOWater

Elementary data

Updated on 19/06/2018
Définition
Sens technique
In the modelling of information systems, data whose breakdown does not make sense (they cannot be obtained from other data). Elementary data can be raw (unqualified) or qualified data (which have already undergone various validation phases).
Source
According to the CERTA Network

Elevation of the piezometric record

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Elevation defined either in NGF level (French levelling network) or in relative depth. The NGF level, established under the control of the National Geographic Institute (IGN), is the reference. NGF can indeed express altitudes in one and unique reference system, i.e. as compared to the same and unique fundamental point (or "origin-zero" or point zero). The "0" level is the average sea level in Marseilles. This point is used to determine the altitude of any other point. The elevation of the piezometric record can also be expressed in relative depth with respect to the benchmark of the

Source
According to BRGM

Emergent substance

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Substance gradually found in the environment when monitoring and analytical techniques are improving. Emerging pollutants currently found are: steroids, medicines (antibiotics, hormones), the degradation products of non-ionic detergents, disinfectants, phthalates, flame retardants, antioxidants, etc. They are characterized by their long-term effects on health, such as the development of cancer, due to their accumulation and persistence, even at very low doses.

Source
According to Rhine-Meuse Water Agency

Emission control

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Arrangement requiring a specific emission limitation, e.g. an emission limit value, an authorization system or an emission permit.
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and AFB

Endangered species

Updated on 27/02/2019
Définition
Sens commun

Refers to a taxon when the best available evidence indicates that it faces a "very high" risk of extinction in the wild.

Source
d'après Conseil régional de Poitou-Charentes

Endemic

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Refers to an organism or taxon with restricted and well defined geographical distribution.
Source
According to Poitou-Charentes Regional Council

Energy of a watercourse

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Kinetic energy of a moving water body. This energy is calculated as follows: specific gravity of water by flow rate Q (m3.s-1) X slope S. The potential energy (PE) of a stream is the energy of this flooding watercourse calculated for the bankfull flow rate (expressed in watt.m-1, where QPB is the bankfull flow). To compare streams of different sizes, we
Source
According to Cemagref

Enhancement

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Process that takes an active approach to disseminate information, usually at the end of any data processing and formatting activity, to make them more easily digestible by non-technical users.
Source
According to the Ministry of Ecology

Entity

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

General idea, an abstraction that is considered a reality. An entity is the modelling of a real object, i.e. a "station", a "sample point", etc. Data dictionaries established by the National Service for Water Data and Reference-dataset Management (Sandre) include entities (or objects) and

Source
According to AFB and IOWater

Environmental Assessment Method

Updated on 19/06/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Method used for the assessment of environmental benefits and damage. There are several methods: the contingent valuation method (CVM), the hedonic pricing method, the travel-cost method, the protection-expenditure method.
Source
According to Patrice Dumas (economist)

Environmental audit

Updated on 06/09/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Management instrument including a systematic, documented, periodic and objective assessment of the effectiveness of the organisation, management system and procedures in terms of environmental impact. An environmental audit can be carried out without a reference system, with a diagnostic purpose, or with a reference system, in order to check compliance with rules or standards.
Source
according to Cogiterra

Environmental compartment

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Component of the medium concerned by the investigation. The environmental compartments are, for example, water, sediment, aquatic moss, fish, etc. The environmental compartment does not correspond to the environmental compartment actually analyzed since it is generally a fraction of it which is analyzed (e.g., for the fish, the liver, or ... for water, the filtered water). We then speak about analyzed fraction.

Source
According to AFB

Environmental compensation

Updated on 04/12/2018
Définition
Sens commun
A set of actions for the environment to counterbalance the damage caused by the implementation of a project, which could not be avoided or limited. Environmental compensation can consist of the protection of natural areas, the restoration, use or long-term management of natural habitats.
Source
according to CELF

Environmental contract

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Technical and financial agreement between partners for comprehensive, joint and sustainable management on the scale of a coherent hydrographic unit (usually a river, lake, bay or aquifer). With the sub-basin management plan (SAGE), the

Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment

Environmental cost

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Cost of damage to the environment and ecosystems and also indirectly to those who use them: degradation of the quality of water and soil, treatment costs for additional purification of drinking water imposed on communities, etc. Under the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC, we are interested in damage caused by water uses (withdrawals, discharges, developments, etc).
Source
According to the Ministry of Ecology

Environmental damage

Updated on 19/06/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Measurable adverse change in a natural resource (protected species and natural habitats, water and soil) or deterioration of a service related to natural resources (functions performed by a natural resource for the benefit of another natural resource or of the public) which may directly or indirectly occur.
Source
According to the European Commission

Environmental Economics

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Branch of the economics that deals, from a theoretical viewpoint, with the relationship between human societies and the environment, particularly in the context of environmental economic policies.
Source
According to Patrice Dumas (economist)

Environmental engineerin

Updated on 04/12/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Scientific, technical and practical knowledge to understand and improve interactions between human beings and natural environments.
Source
according to CELF

Environmental Information

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
According to the law, it concerns a wide range of information on: environmental status; factors affecting environmental status (the sources of pollution or nuisance); administrative or individual measures and actions that may affect the environment, human health status and safety (including food) and the living conditions of people; cultural sites (provided that they are or may be affected by the environmental status) and reports on the implementation of environmental legislation, as well as cost-benefit analyses and other economic analyses. This information may be available in a written, visual or audio form, in electronic or paper versions: this includes emails, letters, reports and other documents, but also manuscripts, databases, GIS layers, photos, videos, etc.
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment

Environmental quality standard

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Concentration of a pollutant in the natural environment that should not be exceeded, in order to protect human health and the environment. The environmental quality standard is involved in determining the chemical status.
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and AFB

Environmental tax

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Tax levied by the State to control pollution or the overexploitation of water resources. In the case of pollution, the environmental tax consists in imposing to the polluter a tax per unit of pollutant discharged (which is equal to the marginal cost of pollution abatement). A tax is economically more efficient than a standard because the effort to reduce pollution is naturally distributed at low cost.
Source
According to OECD

Equilibrium profile

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Longitudinal profile of a river whose erosive power is not sufficient.
Source
According to MNHN

Equitox

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Amount of toxicity which, in 1 m3 of water, blocks 50% of the Daphnia (freshwater micro-crustaceans) found in water after 24 hours.
Source
According to Rhone-Mediterranean and Corsica Water Agency

Equivalent depth of runoff

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Value of the interannual flow converted into mm.
Source
According to the Ministry of Ecology

Erosion

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
All phenomena that remove materials from the surface of a rock or soil, most often by rain, wind and waves. It can be of physical, chemical or biological origin.
Source
According to Seine-Normandy Water Agency

Estuary

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
End and flared shaped section of a river where the sea inflows. It is a zone where fresh and marine waters are mixing. This mixture results in a very significant gradient of the physico-chemical properties of water which varies in space and time.
Source
According to Ifremer

Eutrophication

Updated on 04/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Excessive enrichment of rivers and water bodies by nutrients, mainly phosphorus and nitrogen, which constitute a true fertilizer for aquatic plants. It is characterized by excessive proliferation of plants whose decomposition causes a significant decrease in the oxygen content. It results, among other things, in a diminishing fauna and flora diversity and in disrupted uses (drinking water supply, recreational activities, etc).
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and AFB

Evaporation

Updated on 25/02/2019
Définition
Sens commun

Progressive transformation of water, changing from fluid to gaseous state, thanks to an input of energy (heat, sun...).

Source
according to CNRS

Evapotranspiration

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Quantity of water vapour coming, on the one hand, from the evaporation of water from soil, surface water, and wet vegetation, and, on the other, from plant transpiration. Evapotranspiration is an important component of the water cycle. It depends on meteorological parameters (sun rays, wind, temperature, etc) on soil characteristics (moisture, albedo, etc) and on vegetation. It is measured in water depth related to duration, for example in mm/day.
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and AFB

Excavation

Updated on 06/09/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Action to remove soil or rubble to level or lower the soil.
Source
according to the National Centre for Textual and Lexical Resour

Exclusive fishing zone

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Area, 12 nautical miles wide from the baseline, in which vessels of the riparian country are basically the only ones having the right to fish.
Source
According to Ifremer

Exemption

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique

Postponement of the 2015 deadline to achieve "good status" of waters, in accordance with the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC. The greatest postponement, set at 2027, must be justified by at least one of the following reasons: technical feasibility, natural conditions, disproportionate costs, force majeure events (for temporary exemptions) or the development of projects responding to reasons of public interest.

Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and AFB

Experience-based choice method

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Method consisting in assessing an environmental good and based on surveys, during which respondents are asked to choose among several composite scenarios. In each set of choices, two alternatives and a reference situation (status quo) are proposed. The respondent chooses a scenario within each set or class of scenarios. A statistical analysis is then used to assign a value to each attribute level of the good considered, and therefore, by summing them, to the good in its entirety.  
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment

Exploitation of aggregates

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Action to exploit in the sense of making profits from aggregate extraction.
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and AFB

External cost

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Costs incurred by an activity at the expense of another activity, of an environment, etc, and uncompensated or not supported by those who generate them. Under the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC, we are interested in external environmental costs of services related to water use and more generally water-related activities (withdrawals, discharges, developments, etc); e.g. the costs of exploration and exploitation of new resources due to the pollution of previously exploited groundwater are actually and ultimately supported by the subscribers to drinking water supply services on the price per cubic metre. One of the great practices of environmental economy is to reintegrate externalities into market exchange, externalities are internalized. In other words, environmental degradation (pollution, overexploitation, etc) is included into the prices that otherwise is ignored.
Source
According to Patrice Dumas (economist)

Externality

Updated on 19/06/2018
Définition
Sens technique
Situation in which the action of an economic agent affects, but this not being his purpose, the status of other agents, even though they are not involved: they have not been consulted and have not received (if the influence is negative) nor paid (if it is positive) any compensation. An externality can be positive or negative. It can be the result of an act of production or consumption.
Source
According to AFB

Extractable soil water

Updated on 05/03/2019
Définition
Sens commun

Quantity of water that the soil can hold and return immediately to the roots of plants. It is expressed in millimeters (mm).

Source
d'après Ministère chargé de l'environnement et AFB
Sens technique

The extractable soil water (RU) is the fraction of the soil water reserve available to the plant, or that which can be extracted by the plant through root suction. It is expressed in millimetres of water.

Source
d'après INRA

Extraction

Updated on 13/07/2018
Définition
Sens commun
Action to extract alluvial materials (pebbles, gravel, sand, etc) from river beds, valleys and terraces mainly for exploitation (economic activity) or maintenance of watercourses.
Source
According to the Ministry for the Environment and AFB

Extreme precipitation

Updated on 06/09/2018
Définition
Sens commun
A term that characterises high intensity rainfall events occurring over a short period of time, and of low occurrence in both time and space.
Source
according to IRSTEA and METEO FRANCE