Aquifer Storage & Recovery


ASR Diagram

Meeting increasing demands for water is a constant challenge and pressure to find both short-term and long-term water supply solutions has never been as urgent in many regions of the country as it is today. In areas experiencing water supply shortages and declining groundwater levels in aquifers, storing excess 

water resources underground to be use either at a later date or to manage the water quality of an aquifer can be an attractive solution for meeting current and future challenges posed by climate extremes such as droughts and flooding (in 

both short and long term), increased pressure on existing resources from population growth, competition for resources among various industries, and quantity and quality issues associated with current supplies.  

Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) and managed aquifer recharge (MAR) technologies are being used to address existing and new water demands. ASR/MAR can be as simple as shallow emplacement of excess surface water to complex deep injection, management, and recovery of water res

ervoirs, requiring careful design and implementation to achieve desired results.

Currently, many different types of water sources that are being used in ASR/MAR projects. Some systems utilize treated drinking water processed in low-water-demand periods (during winter months or at night) for use during high-demand periods in the summer. Others use stormwater, treated wastewater, or treated surface and groundwater from other aquifers when it is available. The aquifer into which the water is injected can be either fresh or saline. One of the key challenges to using these   resources is achieving acceptance at the local level that these are viable, long-term water supplies that justify the expense associated with investigation and characterization, as well as development of the infrastructure needed to utilize them. 

Issues Hampering ASR Development or Use

There are many successful ASR/MAR projects across the country and states and water resource managers believe that this technology can play a larger role in meeting future water demands. States face significant regulatory challenges in protecting groundwater quality and quantity, and improving regulatory efficiency and technical expertise in responds to a changing water supply paradigm that utilizes ASR/MAR.   However, various groups have identified challenges facing drinking water utilities, water planners, state and federal regulatory officials, agricultural operators, watershed councils and groundwater professionals as they develop ASR/MAR projects.

For example:

  • In a study on Managed Underground Storage of Recoverable Water (2007), the National Academy of Sciences cautioned that “Urban stormwater….is highly variable in quality; for this reason, caution is needed in determining whether stormwater is of acceptable quality for recharge.”
  • Regulatory framework may be complicated by some states’ water rights requirements.
  • Financial and scientific challenges can limit the use of ASR/MAR.


IN OUR OPINION Stormwater - A Beneficial Resource or a Contaminant: Infiltrate With Caution

Stormwater is a valuable resource that, with proper infiltration, can provide new groundwater resour...

GWPC and NGWA Provide Joint Comments to EPA on Proposed 2020 Financial Capability Assessment for CWA Obligations

The Ground Water Protection Council and the National Ground Water Association are jointly providing ...


09/12/2023 – 09/14/2023
Tampa, Florida, Westshore Grand Hotel

Save the date! More details coming soon!


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Comments on the 2022 update to the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Program and Policy Guide (formerly 2015 HMA Guidance and Addendum), Docket ID FEMA-2022-0023

The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) appreciates the opportunity to providecomments and feedback to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on the 2022 update to the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Program and Policy Guide, Document—Federal Register Citation: 87 FR 52016, Page: 52016-52018, Docket ID FEMA-2022-0023.GWPC notes that some types of Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) projects discussed in the guide, would be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act UIC Program as Class V injection wells. Our comments are intended to broadly address the ASR related sections of Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program and Policy Guide Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Post Fire, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, and Flood Mitigation Assistance August 2022 – Draft, the FEMA Fact Sheet on Climate Resilient Mitigation Activities Aquifer Storage and Recovery, and the Information for Hazard Mitigation Assistance Reviews JOB AID: AQUIFER STORAGE AND RECOVERY. These comments do not necessarily reflect the individual GWPC member state positions or their concerns.


Joint Comments on the USEPA on the Proposed 2020 Financial Capability Assessment for Clean Water Act (CWA) Obligations

The Ground Water Protection Council and the National Ground Water Association jointly provided comments and feedback on the USEPA on the Proposed 2020 Financial Capability Assessment for Clean Water Act (CWA) Obligations. We support funding for communities needing assistance in managing their water resources and for stormwater reuse that may be used as a source of recharge for aquifers as well as supporting the environment. Assessing the financial capability of communities is fundamental to providing financial assistance for adequate needed infrastructure. 


Comments on Proposed USDA Forest Service Directive on Groundwater Resource Management

GWPC recognizes the emphasis in this document on working with states. We feel that collaboration and cooperation with the States is necessary for US Forest Service (USFS) to achieve the vision, goals, strategies, and actions set out within the Groundwater Directive for UIC activities. Recognizing that USFS is not authorized to implement the UIC program under the Safe Drinking Water Act and thus does not have the regulatory authority necessary to carry out some of the provision of the directive, our specific comments provide information on how and when USFS can work within the existing UIC regulatory framework administered by US Environment Protection Agency (USEPA) and the delegated states to ensure all applicable UIC authorizations and permits have been issued by the appropriate regulatory authority.