The old cliché “saving for a rainy day” is a familiar concept, but doesn’t apply to Monte Vista Water District’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Program. Instead, the district is helping to save for a dry day when state and local water supplies are short. MVWD has four groundwater production wells capable of injecting high quality water into underground storage areas, known as aquifers, to replenish and store water for future use.
“We recognize the need for a resilient water supply for our community,” said President of the Board of Directors Sandra Rose. “Our capability has expanded to help meet state and regional goals of banking water during periods of surplus supply for times when imported water supply is reduced or not available.”
The ASR program offers many benefits for regional water supply. Injecting good quality water into aquifers can improve water quality by reducing high levels of nitrate, which is present in the region due to historical agricultural activities. This typically requires either the blending of water supplies or the use of costly wellhead treatment before water is delivered to customers. Groundwater injection also eliminates evaporation associated with surface recharge and enables recharge in urbanized areas where land is limited for large surface recharge basins.
Given increased water supply availability from recent rains, MVWD recently began ASR injection activities and will continue through December. With 114 million gallons injected per month, MVWD anticipates adding almost 800 million gallons to water storage for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Moving this water out of reservoirs will increase their capacity for the anticipated snowpack melt and subsequent runoff.
MVWD was the first agency in the region to start an ASR program when it began operating four ASR wells more than a decade ago. These wells inject high quality imported water from Northern California that is treated at the Water Facilities Authority’s Agua de Lejos Water Treatment Plant in Upland. The wells have a combined injection capacity of 4.9 million gallons of water per day. Both Metropolitan Water District and the State of California helped fund MVWD’s ASR Program with Proposition 13 funds and a low-interest loan from the California Department of Water Resources.