An Independent Expert Panel reviewed a proposal to continue creating artificial recharge facilities in the Cedar Valley Basin.
In the recent years, there has been increased attention to the use of artificial recharge to augment ground water supplies. Stated simply, artificial recharge is a process by which excess surface water is directed into the ground—either by spreading on the surface, by using recharge wells, or by altering natural conditions to increase infiltration—to replenish an aquifer. 1
This project was highly encouraged by all members of the panel. Recharge projects are relativity inexpensive and make the best use of the water that we receive. This project was recommended as the best immediate focus for the District. In 2016, the State Engineer approved the Districts application to recharge. The District and Cedar City have developed several recharge basins and successfully recharged about 10,000 acre-feet of water in 2019.
The District and Cedar City have implemented several projects to recharge the aquifer with available Coal Creek surface water when it is physically and legally available for such use. Current practices include operating the recharge projects during the irrigation off-season, when the District and City water rights are in priority.
Looking forward, it is expected that the District and City will continue to take maximum advantage of recharge opportunities when they arise, in order to offset groundwater pumping activities and preserve water table levels.
Beginning in 2005, Cedar City began running water into gravel pits along the runway at the airport. Recharge efforts increased in 2016 after the State Engineer started the process of a Groundwater Management Plan (A plan which the State uses to reduce water rights over time to bring the aquifer back into equilibrium). Today there are six recharge basins capable of recharging most of the excess water that traditionally was wasted as it entered and evaporated in the terminus Rush and Quichapa Lakes.