Solute potential is defined as the pressure that must be applied to a solution to prevent the inward flow of water through a semipermeable membrane. The flow of water stops because the pressure of the solution and the pressure of the water are equal. Osmotic potential is another term for solute potential.
Solute potential can reduce water potential because it takes some of the water's potential energy. Water potential is defined as the measure of potential energy in water. The solute potential decreases when the solute's concentration increases because the addition of the solute decreases the potential energy of the solution. Water moves from areas of higher water potential to areas of lower water potential until equilibrium is achieved.