Assessment of managed aquifer recharge site suitability using a GIS and modeling

Tess A. Russo, Andrew T. Fisher, Brian S. Lockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


We completed a two-step regional analysis of a coastal groundwater basin to (1) assess regional suitability for managed aquifer recharge (MAR), and (2) quantify the relative impact of MAR activities on groundwater levels and sea water intrusion. The first step comprised an analysis of surface and subsurface hydrologic properties and conditions, using a geographic information system (GIS). Surface and subsurface data coverages were compiled, georeferenced, reclassified, and integrated (including novel approaches for combining related datasets) to derive a spatial distribution of MAR suitability values. In the second step, results from the GIS analysis were used with a regional groundwater model to assess the hydrologic impact of potential MAR placement and operating scenarios. For the region evaluated in this study, the Pajaro Valley Groundwater Basin, California, GIS results suggest that about 7% (15km2) of the basin may be highly suitable for MAR. Modeling suggests that simulated MAR projects placed near the coast help to reduce sea water intrusion more rapidly, but these projects also result in increased groundwater flows to the ocean. In contrast, projects placed farther inland result in more long-term reduction in sea water intrusion and less groundwater flowing to the ocean. This work shows how combined GIS analysis and modeling can assist with regional water supply planning, including evaluation of options for enhancing groundwater resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-400
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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