Newsletter and Technical Publications
<Sourcebook of Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augumentation
2.1.7 Artificial Groundwater Recharge
Artificial recharge is the use of infiltration basins (Figure 33) or
injection wells (Figure 34) to recharge groundwater resources. Infiltration
basins can take many forms. For example, a storage dam can function as an
infiltration basin under certain conditions. With infiltration basins, it is
essential to construct the pond on an infiltration zone lying above an
Extent of Use
Infiltration basins and injection wells have been implemented in
Botswana, Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria. In Zimbabwe, small infiltration
dams are being developed.
Figure 33. Recharge by infiltration basin.
Operation and Maintenance
There is need for a source of the water to be recharged. Groundwater
recharge using infiltration basins in areas with high evaporation rates is
not likely to be effective. Likewise, the presence of clay lenses covering
parts of an aquifer can be a problem as they can prevent the infiltrated
water from reaching the aquifer. Both problems can be overcome through the
use of injection wells, which allow the recharge water to be inserted into
an aquifer under pressure.
Figure 34. Recharge by injection well.
Level of Involvement
Construction of recharge basins can be undertaken by local personnel with
experience in well digging. Government assistance may be required to identify
appropriate recharge sites.
The costs are moderate, depending on the scale of operations.
Effectiveness of the Technology
Recharged water may take on the qualities of normal groundwater, as
impurities are removed within the soil profile. However, there is also the
possibility of introducing contaminants into the groundwater system through the
use of this technology, depending on the source of the recharged water.
Groundwater recharge as a stormwater management technology creates the least
cause for concern, and ensures the reliability of water supplied from nearby
This technology is appropriate for arid regions lacking alternative water
sources. Water reclaimed in this fashion may be used as an alternate source of
drinking water. Recharge may be appropriate in areas where behaviour of
naturally-occurring groundwater is uncertain.
The construction of infiltration basins may help to control soil erosion. The
basins are usually appropriate habitat for a number of birds and wild animals.
Groundwater recharge, especially using injection wells, conserves water
through reduced evaporation. Clean drinking water may be recovered from wells in
the vicinity of the recharge field without using complicated treatment systems.
The water from a recharged aquifer cannot be used without a system of
abstraction. There is also a possibility of polluting the aquifer with the
The technique is culturally acceptable.
Further Development of the Technology
There is limited scope for further development of technology, especially in
terms of ensuring the quality of the recharged water and the prevention of
Gustafsson, P. and J. Johansson s.d. A Study of Water Resources in
Botswana. Department of Geology, Chalmers University of Technology and
University of Goteborg, Goteborg, Sweden.