Aquifer Storage & Recovery

Aquifer Storage and Recovery

Many areas of the country are experiencing increasing demands for water from population growth and the effects of extreme weather conditions such as drought and floods. Many areas are experiencing water supply shortages and declining groundwater levels in aquifers. There is a growing need to develop alternative sources of water and more innovative management strategies to meet current and future demands for water.  Aquifer storage and recovery technologies (ASR) are increasingly a part of the water planning needed to address existing and new water demands. ASR is a complex and developing technology, requiring careful design and implementation to achieve desired results. There are a range of aquifer recharge issues, including storage/disposition of stormwater runoff and treated wastewater as wells as maintaining pressure in confined aquifers. States face significant regulatory challenges  in protecting groundwater quality and quantity, and improving regulatory efficiency and technical expertise in responding to a changing water supply paradigm that utilizes ASR.

Issues hampering ASR Development or Use

While there are many successful ASR projects across the country, states and industry groups believe that ASR can play a larger role in meeting future water demands. Various groups have identified challenges facing drinking water utilities, water planners, state and federal regulatory officials, agricultural operators, watershed councils and groundwater professionals in continued development of ASR projects. The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has identified regulatory complexity as an obstacle in many cases, where there is overlapping federal and state jurisdictions. Regulatory framework can be more complicated in states with water rights requirements. Financial and scientific challenges can limit the use of ASR for smaller water utilities. A study in Texas aimed at water utilities found concerns about the ability to recover stored water and the quality of recovered water. Other concerns involved perceived higher cost than some alternatives and protection from other pumpers. Additional concerns included regulatory complexities and insufficient availability of aquifer data.