Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) vs. Artificial Recharge (AR)
By Therese Ure and Lincoln Herman
Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) is a device for the storage of excess surface water which has been appropriated under a valid water right. Originally, this device was used primarily for drinking water, however agricultural and other water users are considering ASR as a device to off set seasonal water shortages.
The process involves the injection of excess surface water into wells for storage and later recovery. The water that is injected into the wells must meet drinking water standards. The user can use new or existing rights for the ASR water uses including storage and recovery. However, it is important to realize that the ASR process must first undergo a testing program under a limited license. Only after completion of the testing program can an ASR applicant apply for a permanent permit. ASR activities are regulated by Oregon Revised Statutes §537.531 through 537.534 and Oregon Administrative Rules §690-350-0010 through 0030.
Artificial Recharge (AR) is a device for the storage of water to be used at a later time primarily for irrigation purposes. This device was created in 1961. Similar to the ASR device, water is added to the groundwater reservoir via injection wells or a seepage system. The recharge water cannot degrade or impair the ground water quality and the underlying water right must be for recharge only. Accordingly, it would be necessary to complete a transfer to change the type of use. In addition, if the AR user wants to recover any water under the storage (or recharge) permit, an additional use right must be applied for noting the source will be the recharged water. Permits are required to appropriate the source and also to pump out the recharged ground water. AR is regulated under ORS §537.135 and OAR 690-350-0120.
It is also important to note an emerging trend of leasing underground space for ASR and AR projects. For more information, contact Schroeder Law Office via phone at 503-281-4100.