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Managed aquifer recharge an important tool to cope with water shortages: NGWA


December 29, 2015
By Ground Water Canada

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Westerville, OH – Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is one potential tool to help provide for water when it is needed, the National Ground Water Association said in a news release.

MAR captures available water during wet periods, during periods of low demand, or water that would be lost otherwise, then moves this water under controlled conditions into underground geologic formations called aquifers.

“MAR will become an increasingly important tool for mitigating the economic, environmental, and public health impacts of water shortages,” said William Alley, PhD, NGWA’s director of science and technology, in the release. NGWA has published an information brief  as well as a best suggested practices document, on the subject.

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“Integrating MAR into the nation’s water infrastructure will require proper siting selection, design, construction, operation, and maintenance, but it can be done,” Alley said.

MAR projects are used to:

  • Provide more stable water supplies during drought
  • Mitigate land subsidence, where depleted aquifers collapse resulting in a dropping of the ground’s surface
  • Supplement the quantity of ground water available and, of course, all available water
  • Conserve and dispose of runoff and floodwaters
  • Reduce or eliminate declines in the water level of ground water reservoirs
  • Reduce or halt saltwater intrusion
  • Improve ground water quality
  • Store water in off-seasons for use during the growing seasons
  • Allow stored water to be released during dry periods to augment minimum streamflows and maintain lake levels, thereby benefiting ecosystems.

Successful MAR projects include ones operated by the Orange County (California) Water District; Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District; the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority (Florida); United Water Resources (Idaho); Rio Rancho, New Mexico; and Dayton, Ohio. There are hundreds of such projects in place in the United States.