PHOENIX ─ Groundwater recharge is a process where water moves downward from the surface to an underground holding place called an aquifer. In the last 23 years, several public agencies have approached the Flood Control District of Maricopa County (FCD or District) for groundwater recharge on District land. Faced with high costs to accommodate both flood facilities plus an annual lease amounting to 10% of property value, the entities decided to pass on the opportunity or look elsewhere. The District Board of Directors passed a resolution last year allowing FCD lands to be used for groundwater recharge at no cost to other public agencies. This provision was contingent on Board approval for use of District facilities and the project must not interfere with or degrade FCD structures or incur additional cost to the District.
The water cycle showing evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, run off, infiltration, ground water and accumulation (Photo by Zern Liew).
Maricopa County’s Flood Control District is ensuring groundwater recharge projects can proceed, unhindered. The policy change recognizes Arizona's precious resource during drought conditions.
According to the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, communities prepare for drought in three important ways. They store surplus water for later use, similarly to how reservoirs do behind dams. Aquifers can also store treated wastewater for times of surface water shortage. Aquifers also contain significant amounts of natural groundwater that acts as a buffer against shortages in surface water supplies from the Central Arizona Project or Salt River. While Arizona aquifers are generally in good health, water management laws and policies are still vital to protecting them and reducing subsidence problems.
Given how important water is to Arizona, it is important that we focus on preserving this resource every day. The Flood Control District is committed to groundwater recharge and replenishing aquifers to help protect against shortages in Arizona water supplies.
To learn more about how the District is helping to conserve water, please visit http://bit.ly/H20-Conservation.
Note: This article was updated on 2/12/19.