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News: 04/15/2018

Groundwater recharge pilot study underway in Sonoma Valley

Preparation for a groundwater recharge pilot study is underway in Sonoma Valley. The study, a joint effort of the Sonoma County Water Agency and the City of Sonoma, is exploring groundwater banking as a method for improving local water supply resiliency and restoring aquifer health.

The method of groundwater banking to be studied is also known as “aquifer storage and recovery” and involves storing treated, high-quality surface water in underground reservoirs, known as aquifers, during wet periods when surface water is plentiful, and using the water during times of need, such as summer months or during droughts. This pilot study could lead the way for future groundwater banking efforts in Sonoma County.

The groundwater recharge pilot study uses an existing test well located at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building property on First Street West. Minor construction to prepare for the study is underway, and it was anticipated that recharging of wintertime drinking water from the Water Agency’s Russian River facilities into the Sonoma Valley aquifer would begin in March. The purpose of the study is to demonstrate how extra water during the rainy season can be used to recharge the groundwater aquifer and then be extracted during times of need.

The study will include extensive monitoring of water quality and groundwater levels and is being conducted under a permit issued by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. Water recovered during the study will be added to a nearby drainage ditch which flows into Fryer Creek. Sonoma residents should not experience any changes in water quality associated with the testing program.

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