runoff: (1) That part of the precipitation, snow melt, or irrigation water that appears in uncontrolled surface streams, rivers, drains, or sewers. Runoff may be classified according to speed of appearance after rainfall or melting snow as direct runoff or base runoff, and according to source as surface runoff, storm interflow, or groundwater runoff. (2) The total discharge described in (1), above, during a specified period of time. (3) Also defined as the depth to which a drainage area would be covered if all of the runoff for a given period of time were uniformly distributed over it. (source: USGS)