Project #5051

Geochemical Considerations for Managed Aquifer Recharge Implementation in Potable Reuse

Principal Investigator
Research Manager
Harry Zhang, PhD, PE
Integrated Planning & Water Management
Groundwater Management & Protection
Reuse: Potable
Source Water Protection
Water Supply Planning


Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) entails recharging water into an aquifer for future recovery or for environmental benefits, including restoring water levels in an overdrawn aquifer, preventing saltwater intrusion, and improving water quality. Utilities often employ spreading basins and/or injection wells when implementing MAR. MAR also supports many potable reuse applications. The physical and geochemical compatibility of recharge water, native groundwater, and minerals in the receiving aquifer significantly influence the success of an MAR facility.

This project advanced the understanding and practice of MAR in potable reuse applications by addressing two major questions: (1) what are the common challenges experienced during MAR operations for potable reuse, and (2) what are the best practices and strategies to address the common MAR challenges to enable successful implementation of MAR and how can this information be effectively communicated to utilities interested in MAR for potable reuse? This project will help water utilities understand physical and geochemical issues specific to geographic locations associated with developing and operating successful MAR facilities. A robust decision support tool was developed to guide utilities in assessing physical and geochemical issues during the planning, design, and construction phases of an MAR project, and ultimately during its operation. Research partner: California State Water Resources Control Board. Published in 2022.