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The stated purposes of the pilot project are to (1) install several exploratory/test ASR systems in geographically dispersed areas around the lake, (2) determine the water quality characteristics of waters to be recharged, water recovered from the aquifer, and the water in the receiving aquifer, (3) provide an estimate of the amount of water that can be recharged, and (4) provide hydrogeological and geotechnical information on the UFA within the region, and the ability of the UFA to maintain injected water for future recovery.

Western Hillsboro. This CERP feature involves a series of ASR wells that would be located next to an above-ground reservoir in Palm Beach County, or along the Hillsboro Canal. The ASR capacity would be about 150 million gpd (570,000 m3/day), from 30 wells pumping at 5 million gpd (19,000 m3/day) per well. Surface water and/or groundwater from the surficial aquifer adjacent to the reservoir would be the source of recharge water. This feature is designed to supplement water deliveries to the Hillsboro Canal during dry periods, thereby reducing demands on Lake Okeechobee and the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Water would be pumped into the UFA during times of excess, and returned to the canal to help maintain canal stages during the times of deficit.

The stated purposes of the pilot project are (1) to determine the most suitable sites and the optimum configuration for the ASR wells in the vicinity of the reservoir, (2) to evaluate many of the hydrogeological and geotechnical characteristics of the soils and aquifer in the area, and (3) to determine the specific water quality characteristics of water within the aquifer, water proposed for recharge, and water recovered from the aquifer.

The Committee's Charge

The National Research Council's Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem (CROGEE) examined the second draft of the pilot project PMPs from the perspective of adaptive assessment, i.e., the extent to which the pilot projects will contribute to process understanding that can improve design and implementation of restoration project components. It organized a workshop in Miami, Florida on October 19, 2000 to discuss these plans with SFWMD and USACE personnel and other interested parties. Immediately prior to the workshop, much of the proposed work on regional analysis of the subsurface was extracted from the pilot projects and reorganized into a planned, but as yet unfunded, regional ASR study. Because the CROGEE concludes that this regional work is crucial to evaluating the potential for success of the ASR elements of the CERP, this report is a critique of the pilot projects (sensu stricto) and related studies.

This report does not make judgements regarding the overall desirability of ASR as a major component of the CERP, either in absolute terms or in comparison with other storage options such as surface reservoir storage.

The committee's recommendations are organized into three categories—regional science issues, water quality issues, and local performance/feasibility issues—and are as follows:

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