Factors affecting the cost of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) schemes

Original Article


Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is an important technique for improving groundwater recharge and maintaining aquifer levels. There are many examples from around the world that demonstrate the advantages of managed aquifer recharge. Despite the numerous benefits and demonstrated advantages of MAR, uptake has been lower than expected. The financial and economic performance of MAR is a key determinant of its global uptake. There are few studies of the financial characteristics and performance of different kinds of MAR schemes. This study contains an analysis of financial data from 21 MAR schemes from five countries. Although MAR schemes are highly heterogeneous, it is possible to draw some conclusions about factors that affect the costs of storing water underground and recovering it for use. The costs of MAR schemes vary substantially. Schemes using infiltration and spreading basins using untreated water are relatively cheap. Schemes using recharge wells, bores and expensive infrastructure are relatively costly. When advanced water treatment is needed, this involves significant extra costs. Other key factors that affect MAR scheme costs include the range of objectives to be met, frequency of use of the scheme, hydrogeological conditions that affect infiltration rates and well yields, and the source and end use of water stored underground. Priorities for further research include additional disaggregation of capital and operating costs and inclusion of a wider range of scheme types, sources of water and countries.


Groundwater Managed aquifer recharge Costs Capital Operating 


  1. Alexander KS (2011) Community attitudes towards managed aquifer recharge and storm water use in Adelaide, Australia. CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  2. ASR Systems (2006) Survey of aquifer storage and recovery capital and operating costs in Florida. ASR Systems, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  3. Clark R, Gonzalez D, Dillon P, Charles S, Creswell D, Naumann B (2015) Reliability of water supply from stormwater harvesting and managed aquifer recharge with a brackish aquifer in an urbanising catchment and changing climate. Environ Model Softw 72:117–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. DEMEAU (2014) M 11.1 Characterisation of European managed aquifer recharge (MAR) sites—analysis. In Project DEMEAU. http://www.demeau-fp7.eu. Accessed 29 Dec 2017
  5. Dillon P, Arshad M (2016) Managed aquifer recharge in integrated water resource management. In integrated groundwater management: concepts, approaches and challenges. In: Jakeman A, Barreteau O, Rinaudo J-D, Hunt R, Ross A (eds) Integrated groundwater management. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Dillon P, Pavelic P, Page D, Beringen H, Ward J, (2009) Managed aquifer recharge: an introduction In: Waterlines report Series No 13, ed. National Water Commission, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  7. Environment Protection and Heritage Council, Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council and Australian Health Ministers Conference (2009) National water quality management strategy australian guidelines for water recycling: managing health and environmental risks (Phase 2) managed aquifer recharge. Australian Government, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  8. Gleeson T, Wada Y, Bierkens MF, van Beek LP (2012). Water balance of global aquifers revealed by groundwater footprint. Nature 488(7410):197–200. https://search-proquest-com.virtual.anu.edu.au/docview/1034611795?accountid=8330. Accessed 4 Dec 2017
  9. International Groundwater Resource Assessment Centre (2007) Artificial recharge of groundwater in the world. Delft: https://www.un-igrac.org/resource/igrac-global-mar-inventory-report. Accessed 29 Dec 2017
  10. International Groundwater Resource Assessment Centre (2016) Global inventory of managed aquifer recharge schemes. https://www.un-igrac.org/special-project/global-mar-inventory. Accessed 29 Dec 2017
  11. Jakeman A, Barreteau O, Rinaudo J-D, Hunt R, Ross A (2016) Overview concepts, approaches and challenges of integrated groundwater management. In: Jakeman A, Barreteau O, Rinaudo J-D, Hunt R, Ross A (eds) Integrated groundwater management. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Leviston Z, Browne AL, Greenhill M (2013) Domain-based perceptions of risk: a case study of lay and technical community attitudes toward managed aquifer recharge. J Appl Soc Psychol 43:1159–1176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Maliva RG (2014) Economics of managed aquifer recharge. Water 6(5):1257–1279.  https://doi.org/10.3390/w6051257www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/6/5/1257 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Megdal S et al (2014) Water banks: using managed aquifer recharge to meet water policy objectives. Water 6:1500–1514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pyne D (2005) Aquifer storage through wells. ASR Systems, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  16. Ross A (2014) Banking water for the future: prospects for integrated cyclical water management. J Hydrol 519:2493–2500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ross A (2017) Speeding the transition towards conjunctive water management in Australia. J Hydrol.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.01.037 Google Scholar
  18. Sandhu C, Grischek T, Musche F, Macheleidt W, Heisler A, Handschak J, Patwal PS, Kimothi PC, Sustain. Water Resource Management (2017) Measures to mitigate direct flood risks at riverbank filtration sites with a focus on India. Sustain Water Resour Manag.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s40899-017-0146-z Google Scholar
  19. Stefan C, Ansems N (2017) Web-GIS global inventory of managed aquifer recharge applications. https://ggis.un-igrac.org/ggis-viewer/viewer/globalmar/public/default. Accessed 29 Dec 2017
  20. Taylor RG, Scanlon B, DÓ§ll P, Rodell M, Beek RV, Wada Y, Longuevergne L, Leblanc M, Famiglietti JS, Edmunds M, Konikow L, Green TR, Chen J, Taniguchi M, Bierkens MFP, MacDonald A, Fan Y, Maxwell RM, Yechieli Y, Gurdak JJ, Allen DM, Shamsudduha M, Hiscock K, Yeh PJF, Holman I, Treidel H (2014) Groundwater and climate change. Nat Clim Change 3(4):322–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Texas Water Development Board (2011) An Assessment of Aquifer Storage and Recovery in Texas. Report by Malcolm Pirnie Inc, ASR systems LLC and Jackson, Schoberg, McCarthy and Wilson, LLP, Austin, TexasGoogle Scholar
  22. Vanderzalm J, Dillon P, Tapsuwan S, Pickering P, Arold N, Bekele E, Barry K, Donn M, Hepburn P, McFarlane, D. (2015) Economics and experiences of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) with recycled water in Australia, Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence Report. http://www.australianwaterrecycling.com.au/research-publications.html. Accessed 27 Mar 2017
  23. Ward J, Dillon P (2011) Robust policy design for managed aquifer recharge. Waterlines report, National Water Commission, CanberraGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations