Artificial recharge is the process of spreading or impounding water on the land to increase the infiltration through the soil and percolation to the aquifer. The process is used to manage excess runoff-water, prevent flooding and downstream erosion, improve water quality, and balance aquifers. The District has been involved in many recharge projects including: Quichapa Recharge, Western Rock Recharge, Schmidt Pit Recharge, Airport Recharge, Horse Alley Recharge, Enoch Graben Recharge, and Quichapa Creek Recharge Facility.
Quichapa Lake Recharge
In 2017, the District, along with with Cedar City, Iron County, and local property owners, broke ground on this project. The water is first diverted from coal creek into a settling area which feeds into the “lazy river”. The “lazy river” was designed so that the dirt and other substances in the water can settle and not be taken downstream. After, it moves through the lazy river, it is pumped to a settling basin where it is able to seep into the ground, or it can be diverted to an agricultural operation and used for irrigation.
Newest portions of the project include a conservation pond, a spillway, and a dike that separates high TDS water in the south end of Quichapa from the cleaner water in the north end that will be pumped to the lazy river and then over to agricultural fields in the area. Sending surface water from the project to agricultural fields allows farmers to idle their wells and reduce groundwater pumping.
This project was made possible with the help supportive landowners Brad Schmutz and the Kirk and Craig Jones Families, as well as the BLM, E&I Conservation District, Iron County, Cedar City, Enoch, and more.
Western Rock Recharge
Many of the recharge projects are located in old gravel pits. The old Western Rock gravel pit is one of the largest of the gravel pits in the Cedar Valley. During the high spring runoff of 2019, it is estimated that 6,000 acre-feet was added to the aquifer at Western Rock.
Schmidt Pit Recharge
The Schmidt Pit is also an old gravel pit located near the Western Rock Pit. A diversion structure and monitoring system was installed in 2018 to divert water during winter run off. The Schmidt Pit is a primary recharge location during the winter.
In spring 2023, the District expanded the Schmidt Pit Recharge Facility to help capture more runoff from the record snowpack our area received. This expansion included the addition of two gravel pits (about 12 acres), one owned by Iron County and the other by Cedar City. Using pipes to connect the recharge basins, the county and city pits now act as overflow to the original gravel pit (which is owned by Western Rock Products).
Cedar City is the creator of the Airport Recharge Facility. Throughout the years, hundreds of acre-feet of water have been added into the Airport Recharge Facility. The recharge pit covers approximately 5 acres of land within the Cedar City Regional Airport.
Horse Alley Recharge
CICWCD in cooperation with Cedar City utilized an area where fill was taken to make improvements to the airport runway. It is estimated to cover approximately 3 acres of land and up to 6 feet deep. A discharge was constructed to allow excess water to pass through and continue to irrigators and other recharge projects.
Enoch Graben Recharge
This area of recharge is where springs used to flow. The springs have dried up due to pumping of the groundwater aquifer. This project was made possible with the help of the Worth Grimshaw Family and Enoch City.