The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a grant to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works to research the use and risks of enhanced aquifer recharge (EAR) to improve groundwater availability and quality.
“Groundwater is an essential and increasingly scarce commodity in arid regions such as Southern California. Through this award, Los Angeles County will move forward with timely and innovative studies to help secure precious groundwater resources and protect water quality,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “This research will help conserve and maximize the availability of groundwater into the future. We are proud to support efforts that help states, agencies, and communities become more water resilient.”
“Capturing and conserving stormwater is an integral part of Los Angeles County’s strategy to ensure all residents have access to safe, clean, reliable water resources,” said Mark Pestrella, Director of Los Angeles County Public Works and Chief Engineer of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. “This grant from the EPA will allow LA County Public Works to continue its exploration of sustainable stormwater capture in the face of climate change—one of the most critical challenges we face as a region.”
Enhanced Aquifer Recharge (EAR), often interchangeably referred to as artificial recharge or aquifer storage, has tremendous potential as a process to augment water supplies, replenish groundwater, and restore streamflow in the face of increasing populations, urban development, and climate change. EAR can be accomplished using surface water or treated wastewater. While EAR implementation and management has been an active topic of research for many years, significant knowledge gaps remain. This research will help address some of these gaps related to best practices in design, location, performance, maintenance, and monitoring of EAR in different land use and hydrogeologic settings.
With the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) research funding from the EPA announced this week, investigators will assist communities throughout the United States in evaluating whether and how to invest in safe and sustainable EAR strategies for many goals including enhancing water supplies, protecting water quality, maintaining aquatic ecosystems, reducing sinking land and avoiding sea water intrusion. This research will enable state, Tribal, and local water quality managers to adopt safe EAR practices while understanding the risks, benefits, and consequences from using different source waters and given differing subsurface geology and groundwater end use.