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Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR)

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR)

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR)

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is a promising adaptation measure to reduce vulnerability to climate change and hydrological variability. MAR can play an important role as a measure to control over-abstraction and to restore the groundwater balance. It can be used to recharge aquifers subject to declining yields, to control saltwater intrusion or to prevent land subsidence. MAR may also be applied to sustain or improve the functioning of ecosystems and the quality of groundwater.

A main advantage of MAR technology is its flexibility and applicability to different scales and purposes. MAR is however not a remedy for water scarcity in all areas. Aquifer conditions must be suitable and (excess) source water must be present. The potential of MAR applications should be preliminarily assessed before field activities initiate.


IGRAC has experience in MAR research at both local and regional level. IGRAC can assess the hydrogeological, hydro-geochemical and socio-economic feasibility of MAR schemes in various aquifer settings and for various purposes and provide expert advice on the means of implementation. In brief, IGRAC's MAR activities can be divided into three main pillars: MAR in-situ assessment, regional mapping of MAR suitability and MAR information management. 

The latter is done using the MAR Portal, which was a joint initiative of TU Dresden and IGRAC. If you would like to contribute MAR data to be shared within the MAR Portal please submit this data by filling out the Global MAR Inventory - Site submission form or contact us for more information. It is also possible to obtain your own dedicated web-GIS portal to improve the outreach and to increase visibility of MAR projects. Web-GIS portal gives the possibilities to facilitate easy information access and exchange between project partners and other stakeholders.

More about MAR

MAR potential maps provide a first-pass on MAR feasibility based on suitable landscape, (hydro)geology, and source water availability. Upon identification of suitable locations for MAR application, the following steps should be performed to ground-truth remote-sensing data and further assess MAR feasibility. 

Sediment samples should be obtained from the candidate aquifer at frequent depth intervals and analysed in the lab in order to assess the geochemical reactivity of the aquifer. Aquifers containing highly reactive sediments should preferably be avoided as they may have negative implications on the quality of the recharged water. Depending on the planned MAR scheme, sediment samples can be obtained during the installation of injection and observation wells. 

Native groundwater samples should be collected and analysed in order to obtain a complete picture of the hydro-geochemical conditions in the aquifer. Source water samples should also be analysed to assess the chemical compatibility between the candidate aquifer and the source water intended to be artificially recharged and assess the reactions which may alter and compromise the quality of the recharged water. 

Finally, reactive transport modelling can be a valuable tool assisting in identifying and quantifying the hydro-geochemical reactions and evaluating their temporal persistence. 

IGRAC can assist carrying out these steps and can provide expert advice on the chemical compatibility between source water and candidate aquifers and on the selection of the most suitable MAR scheme depending on the local geochemical conditions.

IGRAC is participating in various MAR networks. These networks are set up to increase awareness on MAR techniques and solutions among water specialists and the general public, and to facilitate international exchange of information, by disseminating results of research and practical experience, and by undertaking joint projects and activities. 

IAH-MAR Commission 

IAH-MAR Commission IAH-MAR Commission

The main objective of the MAR Commission of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH-MAR) is to promote MAR through encouraging “research, development and adoption of improved practices for MAR”. The Commission facilitates exchange of information between members internationally, disseminates results of research and practical experience (via conferences and workshops) and raises awareness of MAR among IAH members and the water community. 

EIP Water Action Group: MAR(Solutions) to MAR-ket 

MAR to Mark€t MAR to Mark€t

MAR(Solution) to MAR-ket is an action Group under the European Innovation Partnership (EIP). The group focuses on strategies and actions to bring Managed Aquifer Recharge scientific based solutions and techniques to the industry. It does this by promoting MAR to the principal stakeholders and SMEs. By transferring the results of MAR into guidelines and policy it enables successful MAR implementations to other locations.


Be Buffered 3R Consortium

3R stands for “Recharge, Retention and Reuse of Groundwater & Rainwater”. 3R is both an approach and an initiative that deals with the management of the water storage. It is a result of four Dutch entities (RAIN, Acacia Water, MetaMeta and Aqua for All), the German Geological Survey (BGR) and IGRAC joining forces in their attempts to contribute in climate change adaptation measures.