You know that CAGRD stands for Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District. But do you know what replenishment means?
You’re right if you think replenishment is the act of restoring a supply to a former level or condition. But what does that have to do with water and CAGRD?
In certain areas of Arizona called Active Management Areas, the state Assured Water Supply Rule limits the amount of groundwater that can be pumped. CAGRD’s role is part of the state statute to replenish the volume of groundwater that is pumped or delivered to its members beyond the allowable amount in these areas. This replenishment must be completed within three calendar years and is accomplished by a process called recharge.
Recharge may happen through the physical delivery of CAGRD-owned or leased renewable water supplies to either:
- Underground storage facilities – water is sent to large spreading basins and percolates into the ground, recharging the aquifer
- Groundwater savings facilities – water is sent to a farm on an irrigation district, preserving the groundwater it would otherwise have pumped and CAGRD is credited an equal amount for replenishment
You can learn more about CAGRD’s replenishment obligations here. Currently, each year, CAGRD replenishes more than 30,000 acre-feet water back into Arizona’s aquifers – when you consider that one acre-foot serves three average-sized Arizona families for one year – you can see that’s a lot of water!