Artificial Recharge of Aquifers

by Charles L. Joy, (S.M.ASCE), Arizona State Univ, Tempe, AZ, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Critical Issues in Water and Wastewater Treatment


Artificial groundwater recharge is a means of replenishing groundwater supplies with surface water which might otherwise be lost. Artificial groundwater recharge has also been used to protect coastal aquifers against saltwater intrusion; to improve water quality; and to reduce groundwater depletion that causes land subsidence. Three principal methods of artificial groundwater recharge are currently in practice: spreading basins, injection wells, and recharge shafts/pits. The appropriate method for a specific use depends upon the availability of land, the type of aquifer to be recharged, economic constraints, and the purpose of recharge. Artificial groundwater recharge has created a stir in both the health and legal communities. The quality of source water used for groundwater recharge is of increased concern due to the unknown health effects associated with the consumption of reclaimed wastewater or potentially contaminated surface runoff. Artificial groundwater recharge has forced changes in regional water laws. The ownership rights to treated effluent, the water rights to recharged water, and the potential liability arising from artificial groundwater recharge have only recently been addressed in a few states.

Subject Headings: Water reclamation | Artificial recharge | Groundwater supply | Water quality | Groundwater depletion | Land subsidence | Water pollution | Salt water

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