Public Seminar - Managed aquifer recharge; water banking that we can trust

In a world with increasing pressures on freshwater systems, sensible management of them is becoming ever more important.

Most of the earth’s freshwater is held in underground aquifers which supply over 30% of global drinking water and over 40% of irrigation water. Sustainable groundwater management is a key to global water security, but over 20% of the world’s aquifers are overexploited.

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is an innovative technology for banking water and increasing water security and resilience to climate change, droughts and floods. MAR has a number of advantages compared to other forms of water storage and supply, including the wide distribution and accessibility of aquifers, relatively cheap storage and minimal evaporative loss. The financial and economic performance of MAR is a key determinant of its global uptake.

This presentation includes an overview of global MAR and MAR innovations, and an analysis of costs and benefit cost ratios of 40 MAR schemes in 16 countries. This illustrates the capacity of well designed and executed MAR projects to provide the preferred and most economically viable alternative for water resources development, enhancing resilience and water quality.


About the speaker

Andrew Ross is a Research Fellow and Consultant at the Fenner School of Environment & Society. He Is a member of the management group of the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice, leading globally relevant strategic initiatives to promote sustainable groundwater governance and management. He leads the International Association of Hydrogeologist’s working group on economic aspects of managed aquifer recharge (MAR), and is engaged in a feasibility study of MAR to improve agricultural productivity in the Murray-Darling Basin.

His main research interests are:

  • integrated groundwater and surface water management, solutions for water and food security and adaptation to climate change
  • economics and governance of managed aquifer recharge
  • groundwater policy and governance

Andrew has been awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship on groundwater management with the Environmental Defence Fund and Cornell University in the USA, commencing in January 2020.