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Artificial Ground Water Recharge
Artificial recharge provides ground water users an opportunity to increase the amount of water available during periods of high demand--typically summer months. Past interest in artificial recharge has focused on aquifers that have declined because of heavy use and from which existing users have been unable to obtain sufficient water to satisfy their needs.

A permit to appropriate water--from a stream or another ground water aquifer--is required for artificial recharge. In addition, a secondary ground water permit is required to pump the recharged water to a beneficial use. In processing applications for permits, the Department evaluates if the diversion of water for recharge and the use of recharged water are in the public interest and if the proposed recharge project will yield a net increase in the amount of water available in the aquifer. A permit for artificial recharge from a stream source may only be issued if a minimum streamflow or instream water right has been established for the stream or the Department of Fish and Wildlife agrees to waive the requirement. In addition, an applicant must meet any applicable requirements of the Department of Environmental Quality for the protection of water quality. Drinking water quality standards do not necessarily have to be met for purposes of artificial ground water recharge.

Water users recharging ground water and using recharged ground water are required to maintain an accounting of the quantities of water stored and used. This ensures that the amount of water used does not exceed the net amount of water injected into the aquifer after accounting for seepage to other aquifers and other losses.

Program Implementation
A recharge project using water diverted from the Umatilla River into a recharge canal has been in operation for 25 years. Water seeps from the canal into a shallow aquifer that is within a critical ground water area. In addition, the Buell-Red Prairie Water District in Polk County recharges ground water by injecting treated water from Gooseneck Creek into a well. Several years ago, the City of Hermiston obtained a permit to recharge a deep, basalt aquifer using water from a shallow, alluvial aquifer, but has not yet proceeded with the project.

Links of Interest
2008 Presentation: ASR and AR in Oregon 
DEQ Fact Sheet: ASR and AR                  

ORS 537.135
OAR 690-350-120 to 690-350-130