ASR for Agriculture

Recharging the aquifer with shallow alluvial groundwater in the winter allows farmers to recover the water for irrigation purposes during the summer.

Madison Ranches, Inc., and McCarty Ranch (Madison and McCarty) are large-scale agricultural operations in the Butter Creek Critical Groundwater Area in eastern Oregon. Groundwater curtailments in the region severely limited these farmers’ ability to irrigate more than 1,100 acres of land. GSI has assisted Madison and McCarty with a number of solutions to enhance their water supplies during the irrigation season, including artificial groundwater recharge (AR) at Madison to divert and treat ASR source water, and ASR at both properties.

Both ASR facilities have been in operation since 2006, collectively recharging, storing, and recovering approximately 1,200 acre-feet of water annually for irrigation. After the McCarty ASR project was fully developed for McCarty’s needs, GSI prepared a successful application to obtain the third ASR permit issued in the state. GSI continues to support the Madison ASR project, performing ongoing assessments of water quality and groundwater data and preparing annual reports to the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) to maintain current licenses for the project.

GSI's work involved:

  • Assessing the feasibility of using ASR to recharge the regional basalt aquifer with shallow alluvial groundwater, which is available during the non-irrigation season.
  • Assisting both Madison and McCarty in obtaining an ASR limited license from OWRD, and later assisting McCarty in obtaining a full-scale ASR permit.
  • Developing ASR pilot testing plans, including water quality sampling and analysis, groundwater level monitoring, and documenting volumes of water stored and recovered.
  • Providing ongoing licensing and reporting support.


Echo, Oregon


  • ASR and AR feasibility study
  • Pilot project implementation
  • Licensing and regulatory support
  • Ongoing operations and maintenance

Madison and McCarty are able to store excess winter water in the aquifer for irrigating crops during the growing season.

Photo Gallery

The Madison Ranches ASR system

GSI's Jeff Barry and Jason Melady (left and middle) visit with Mike McCarty on his property.