Oral Presentation Australasian Groundwater Conference 2017

Factors affecting Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) scheme costs (#17)

Sunail Hasnain 1 , Andrew Ross 1
  1. Fenner School of Environment and Society, Canberra, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT, Canberra, ACT, Australia

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 22 MAR schemes from 5 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 natural infiltration and spreading basins using untreated water are relatively cheap. Schemes using wells, bores and expensive infrastructure are relatively costly. When water treatment is needed this involves significant extra costs. Other key factors that affect MAR scheme costs include scheme objectives and scale, frequency of utilisation of the scheme, hydrogeological conditions, and the source and end use of water stored underground. Priorities for further research include additional disaggregation of capital and operating costs, collection of more data on socio-economic, environmental, legal and institutional factors affecting the economics of MAR and inclusion of a wider range of studies including from developing countries.

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