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Surface runoff

Water that flows over land until it reaches lakes, rivers, or other areas such as oceans.

Reliable runoff

The amount of surface runoff that we can generally count on as a source of freshwater from year to year.


A ridge of land that separates two adjacent river systems.


Water that fills the cracks and spaces in underground soil and rock layers.

Zone of saturation

The lower zone where water accumilates between small rock particles.

Zone of aeration

The upper zone which usually isn't completely filled with water, but with rocks and soil too.

Water table

Underground surface below which the ground is wholly saturated with water or the upper layer of the saturated zone.


Subterranean, porous, water-holding rocks that provide millions of wells with steady flows of water.


New water that enters the aquifer from the surface.

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