New USACE Report – Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
Water Security through Resilience
ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Institute for Water Resources (IWR) released a report titled Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Water Security through Resilience.
With the water needs of society increasing and becoming increasingly diverse, water management and planning are more challenging than ever. Water security in all its forms is as important, but seems progressively difficult to achieve. Additional water storage and flood risk management is needed, but major new surface infrastructure projects seem unlikely. Water storage underground (managed aquifer recharge, or MAR) is an alternative to augment surface storage and increase resilience of USACE projects while improving the Nation’s water security.
MAR is a term that covers artificial recharge, aquifer storage and recovery, riverbank and riverbed filtration, groundwater banking, and other mechanisms of purposeful water recharge to aquifers for later recovery. MAR use has grown rapidly over the last two decades, progressing from an often-experimental concept to a management tool used in over 1000 sites around the world.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and its partners have engaged, or considered engaging, in the use of MAR in a variety of settings and purposes, throughout the United States. These purposes include:
- Flood risk management -Recharge of floodwaters, in combination with surface storage, can dampen the flood peak.
- Aquatic ecosystem restoration - Discharging stored groundwater may help maintain timely environmental flows.
- Drought resilience - MAR can provide back-up storage for multi-year droughts without losses due to evaporation.
- Salt-water intrusion prevention - Replenishing coastal aquifers can provide additional agricultural and potable water supply while keeping salt water at a safe distance.
- Multi-purpose projects - Urban water projects can combine wastewater reuse, wetlands restoration, recreational and educational opportunities, and MAR.
This report examines how MAR has been, is being, or could be used in conjunction with USACE Civil Works water resources projects. The report summarizes some of USACE’s authorities for using MAR, provides numerous examples of USACE activities involving MAR, reviews the experience of other US government agencies and Departments, and considers how MAR can be integrated into the USACE civil works planning process and new initiatives.
The report is available for free download from the IWR Library.
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