Aquifer Storage & Recovery Systems
With something like 250,000 million cubic metres of rainwater falling on the UK mainland in an average, it is an appalling statistic to know that 60% of it simply runs out to sea from swollen rivers and yet many parts of the UK are suffering year on year with ever-worsening water scarcity ! In an effort to address declining water levels, the Environment Agency are imposing greater restrictions to consumers towards abstraction of natural water sources and this is making things increasingly difficult for seasonal water users such as irrigators to function properly. They either suffer with lack of water or have no choice but to get the necessary volumes of water from a mains water supplier but then pay the high tariffs associated with it.
An Aquifer Storage & Recovery System is widely used on a municipal scale elsewhere in the world and we believe that it can help address the mis-management of our rainwater cycle that allows seasonal water consumers such as irrigators a way to harvest water when its plentiful, store it and recover it when its needed through the summer months but importantly without the need for a large storage lagoon. During the wetter seasons, an ASR system sees surface water scavenged from rivers and / or roof and surface run-off. The raw water is pumped through a small treatment plant to remove particulate and any undesirable chemical content and then injected via a purpose drilled borehole which provides a pathway receptor to an aquifer. The aquifer is ‘charged’ with a pre-determined volume of water that is equal to or more likely greater than the amount the user requires ( to help groundwater levels recover ). The stored water is then extracted for the irrigation season via the same borehole and used as necessary even where the aquifer unit has been classified as closed to consumers.
ASR systems are acknowledged by the EA as a welcome innovation that helps to address the growing concern towards water scarcity whilst helping consumers too. ASR systems would need to be regulated and licenced by the EA. The system design must satisfactorily demonstrate to the EA ( prior to installation ) that it can operate without detrimental impact to local water resources and the environment generally. This is something that Howley Energy & Water Ltd undertake in-house.
In order for an ASR to be successfully developed, there are a number of critical parameters that must align. A suitably sized source of raw water ( ie adequately sized area for rainwater harvesting from within the site boundary or physical access to a river with off-season water availability ) must be accessible to the site. Secondly, the site must be underlain by an aquifer which is reasonably economic to exploit via drilling and finally, the aquifer itself must have certain hydrogeological characteristics to be able to offer the storage and recovery system. Howley Energy & Water Ltd will assess the site with a high level feasibility investigation FREE OF CHARGE to gain an initial insight as to whether a site may be suitable for an ASR system. Contact us to learn more about ASR’s and how that it may help you.