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Recharging Groundwater

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Funding Year: 2019

Research Areas: Freshwater

Regions: North America

Many agricultural regions of the world require a sustainable supply of surface water and / or groundwater. Massive groundwater extraction in California’s Central Valley has created large, unused groundwater storage spaces – an opportunity for a form of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) in which excess surface water from winter storms or spring snow melt is allowed to move into the subsurface and recharge the groundwater system.


This project is developing a novel methodology for assessing site suitability for the approach, called flood-MAR (or ag-MAR). The researchers will use 3D images of sediment texture in the subsurface to rank various sites in terms of ability to rapidly move water to depth, and to develop a flow and transport model that predicts water quality changes. This methodology could provide a cost-effective and reliable approach for growers, bringing the region closer to sustainable groundwater management. 

Learn more about the Realizing Environmental Innovation Program and other funded projects.

Principal Investigators:

Rosemary Knight, Professor of Geophysics

Kate Maher, Associate Professor of Earth System Science

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