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Water deficit

Amount of water (mm) needed to return moisture conditions of a soil back to field capacity.

Water holding capacity

The capacity of soils to hold water that is available for use by most plants. It is commonly defined as the difference between the amount of soil water at field moisture capacity and the amount at wilting point. It is commonly expressed as mm of water per m of soil.

Water logging

The state where water is standing at the soil surface for prolonged time, resulting in e.g. oxygen problems in the root zone and/or the soil is saturated.

Water management

The way in which water availability (irrigation; water harvesting) and discharge (drainage) is regulated.

Water purification

The capacity of a soil to remove harmful compounds from the water that it holds.

Water regulation

The capacity of a soil to receive, store and conduct water for subsequent use and the prevention of both prolonged droughts and flooding and erosion.

Water table

The upper surface of groundwater or that level in the ground where the water is at atmospheric pressure. Different horizons can be recognized, such as the highest and lowest average height of the groundwater level in summer or winter.


The process by which materials in rocks or other deposits are broken down into smaller parts and ultimately their constituents. An example is


Water Framework Directive.

Wilting point

Soil moisture content where the rate of absorption of water by plant roots is too slow to maintain plant turgidity and permanent wilting occurs. The average moisture tension at the outside surface of the moisture film around soil particles when permanent wilting occurs is 1500 kPa.

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