Sixty years of global progress in managed aquifer recharge

P. Dillon, P. Stuyfzand, T. Grischek, M. Lluria, R. C. Jain, W. Wang, E. Fernandez, Y. Zheng, R. Rossetto, More Authors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)
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The last 60 years has seen unprecedented groundwater extraction and overdraft as well as development of new technologies for water treatment that together drive the advance in intentional groundwater replenishment known as managed aquifer recharge (MAR). This paper is the first known attempt to quantify the volume of MAR at global scale, and to illustrate the advancement of all the major types of MAR and relate these to research and regulatory advancements. Faced with changing climate and rising intensity of climate extremes, MAR is an increasingly important water management strategy, alongside demand management, to maintain, enhance and secure stressed groundwater systems and to protect and improve water quality. During this time, scientific research—on hydraulic design of facilities, tracer studies, managing clogging, recovery efficiency and water quality changes in aquifers—has underpinned practical improvements in MAR and has had broader benefits in hydrogeology. Recharge wells have greatly accelerated recharge, particularly in urban areas and for mine water management. In recent years, research into governance, operating practices, reliability, economics, risk assessment and public acceptance of MAR has been undertaken. Since the 1960s, implementation of MAR has accelerated at a rate of 5%/year, but is not keeping pace with increasing groundwater extraction. Currently, MAR has reached an estimated 10 km3/year, ~2.4% of groundwater extraction in countries reporting MAR (or ~1.0% of global groundwater extraction). MAR is likely to exceed 10% of global extraction, based on experience where MAR is more advanced, to sustain quantity, reliability and quality of water supplies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalHydrogeology Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Artificial recharge
  • History of hydrogeology
  • Managed aquifer recharge
  • Review
  • Water banking


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