water available to ensure that the water is used efficiently. The cost of recharge operations should not be subsidized to make this water source more attractive than it would otherwise be.

Legal and Institutional Considerations

The development of institutional arrangements governing artificial recharge is critical in determining the extent to which water supplies will ultimately be available from recharge with waters of impaired quality. Institutions need to be capable of formulating policies to protect public health and safety and environmental amenities while not imposing inappropriate or inefficient controls on this potentially important form of water resource management. Federal leadership will be needed if the full promise of artificial ground water recharge is to be realized.

  • As a first step in developing institutional arrangements that will foster artificial recharge as a means of augmenting water supplies, states should move to clarify the legal rights to source waters and recovered waters for artificial recharge operations.

  • In addition to ensuring the protection of public health related to the consumption of recovered water, when developing regulatory policies states should make explicit provision for the evaluation of project sustainability and environmental impacts of artificial recharge projects.

  • Regulatory processes should ensure that environmental impacts and other third party effects are adequately accounted for in the design and operation of artificial recharge projects.

  • The federal government should assume leadership in supporting the development of artificial recharge with treated municipal wastewater and other suitable impaired-quality water sources by providing technical assistance to the states and by developing model statutes and guidelines.


Bouwer, H. 1978. Ground Water Hydrology. New York: McCraw Hill. 480 pp.

Bull, R. J., C. Gerba, and R. R. Trussell. 1990. Evaluation of the health risks associated with disinfection. Critical Reviews in Environmental Control 20:77-113.

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