Whether drought or flooding, gripping cold or scorching heat, the weather often makes headlines. A persistent weather related headline in the Western United States these days is extreme drought. The current drought, which some estimate has been here for about 4 years, has taken a serious toll on the surface water resources of many western states, especially California. In fact, this most recent drought has driven California lawmakers to enact many new water related policies and regulations. While short term goals of this new legislation focus on water conservation, the long term desire is to reduce California’s reliance on surface water resources. Toward this end, many stakeholders are are directing their efforts to recharging groundwater stores.
Though out of sight and easy to forget, aquifers provide the ideal storage tank with no additional construction is necessary. According to many estimates, the amount of groundwater storage volume available far exceeds the amount of volume available at the surface. The internet is ripe with articles about using wastewater effluent, stormwater runoff, and irrigation tailwater for groundwater recharge, while the various methods of recharge such as spreading basins, drywells, and injection wells are further evaluated.
Photo Courtesy of USGS