This diagram shows how Aquifer Storage Recovery works in counties like San Benito that rely on groundwater for public use. Contributed image

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that the San Benito County Water District (SBCWD) will be awarded two grants to support local water resiliency efforts. 

The project that received funding—Accelerated Drought Response Project or ADRoP—is centered around groundwater recharge efforts. To accomplish this goal, the SBCWD will be using what is called Aquifer Storage Recovery (ASR).  

In ASR, recharge occurs by injection into a well (or wells) and the same well is then used for recovery. This typically occurs in wet years for recovery in dry years; the time between storage and recovery can range from months to decades. 

The grants were issued from two separate DWR programs. The first grant of $1.8 million was awarded through the Integrated Regional Water Management Implementation Program. This grant will be used primarily for the design, permitting and environmental review of the project. 

The second grant was awarded through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. This program provides funding to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA), and the SBCWD is the GSA for San Benito County. This grant is valued at $11.5 million. These funds will be used to construct and implement the project. 

The SBCWD has been intentionally recharging groundwater storage for decades, and ASR will more than double the capacity to capture available water in wet years (like 2023) and provide high-quality water in dry years when other sources are limited.  

Shawn O. Novack is Water Conservation Programs Manager for the Water Resources Association of San Benito County, and the San Benito County Water District.

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