Shallow groundwater systems often provide critical base flow to streams. However, when surface water that historically recharges these systems gets diverted for irrigation or other uses, the groundwater systems can become depleted. Aquifer recharge is a cost-effective way to replenish aquifers.
Aquifer recharge projects focus on enhancing infiltration of untreated water into shallow groundwater systems. Typically, recharge projects attempt to mimic naturally occurring local recharge so that water treatment can be minimal. Stored water can be used to offset groundwater pumping, restore lost habitat, provide emergency water supply for municipalities, and/or replace the loss of floodplain recharge functions.
Use of aquifer recharge is growing throughout the world. In the Southwest, it is used to supply water for major metropolitan areas. In the Pacific Northwest, our team of hydrogeologists and hydrologists have successfully carried out recharge projects the Walla Walla River Basin and Grande Ronde River Basin, where habitat restoration is the primary goal, and in the Umatilla River Basin to address wildlife habitat and irrigation needs.