Grants provide boost to groundwater banking

Two Northern California water agencies will soon be able to move forward with projects aimed at increasing groundwater banking during wet times.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) awarded $4 million to the Carmichael Water District and $6.3 million to Yuba City for Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) groundwater wells that allow water providers to add treated water into the groundwater aquifer.

“Every amount of state investment accelerates the Sacramento region’s comprehensive plan to build a more drought- and climate-resilient water system through the Sacramento Regional Water Bank by expanding our ability to store—or bank—water in the underground aquifer during wet times to be used during dry times,” said RWA Executive Director Jim Peifer, noting that the Sacramento region’s groundwater aquifer has the ability to store twice the volume of Folsom Reservoir.

Peifer explained that rather than one big project, the Water Bank is a network of groundwater wells, pumps and pipelines connecting water providers into an integrated regional system.

“ASR wells are a vital part of the water banking network of projects, and we are pleased that DWR recognized these as critical tools that deserve funding,” said Peifer said. “The ASR well in Carmichael is also important to preserving the Lower American River environment by reducing the region’s reliance on the river for drinking water supplies.”

One ASR well has the potential to add up to 2,000 acre-feet of water into the groundwater basin per year, enough to serve 4,000 families. Each well guarantees reliability through the life of that well, which typically is 50-plus years.

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