Managed Aquifer Recharge

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) involves the intentional inducement of water into an aquifer. Water can be recharged using a variety of techniques, including from direct infiltration (spreading, bank induced infiltration, well injection) or via surface water interception that increases infiltration (in channel modifications, runoff harvesting, land flooding). MAR can serve a variety of purposes. Recharge may be implemented to reduce groundwater overdraft, to ensure availability of water during drought periods, to manage stormwater runoff, to protect instream flows, to combat saltwater intrusion, or to ameliorate groundwater salinity. While the scientific and technical knowledge needed to implement and to evaluate the effects of MAR have been steadily increasing, understandings of the institutional structures that can facilitate, the incentives that encourage uptake of, and the barriers to implementation of MAR lag. This research examines how technical, legal, institutional and economic factors converge in MAR systems in order to identify how MAR can be incentivized, how barriers to MAR implementation can be overcome, the potential institutional structures for MAR programs, and how all three of necessarily vary across MAR types and contexts.


This research is being conducted in partnership with the Wheeler Water Institute, Center for Law, Energy and the Environment at
the University of California Berkeley.  The project is sponsored by Nestle Waters.