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We Explore Managed Aquifer Recharge Systems

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Map showing the location of the C-43 reservoir, Lehigh Acres and the proposed MAR wells are located along the western boundary of the reservoir south of SR-80.

The South Florida Water Management District recently announced it’s testing what it calls Emergency Estuary Protection Wells. They are deep injection wells that pump water down thousands of feet into what’s called the ‘boulder zone’. This type of well is already used to dispose of excess water by cities around the country, including Cape Coral. But the key word is ‘dispose’, because water pumped down that far is not recoverable. And this, say environmental advocates, is not a good solution because we need all the water we can get, and pumping polluted water deep beneath the earth could pose unknown environmental problems.

But, there are other kinds of wells which are designed to pump water down into an aquifer, and then one day pump at least some of it back up. We’re joined for the first part of today’s show by Dr. Thomas Missimer, he’s an Eminent Scholar in hydrogeology and water resources in the U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. He co-authored a paper published last year in the Journal Water that explores what are called Managed Aquifer Recharge Systems, which could potentially both store excess water, and be a source of water in areas that are facing drinking water shortages.