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Managed Aquifer Recharge: the MAR portal, awareness raising and suitability mapping

Managed Aquifer Recharge: the MAR portal, awareness raising and suitability mapping

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) can be used to address a wide range of water management challenges. It is particularly suitable for mitigating precipitation variability, balancing groundwater over-abstraction or restoring water quality. It is therefore a promising measure in a context of global change. That is why IGRAC is active in MAR, for already 10 years. In 2018, IGRAC put efforts in enlarging the MAR portal, raising awareness about the potential of MAR and further research on MAR suitability mapping. 

MAR Portal

The MAR Portal, developed by IGRAC and INOWAS, contains detailed information on about 1200 MAR sites from over 50 countries across the world. This information was collected and analysed in a joint effort to make a global inventory of MAR schemes. MAR professionals are invited to add new MAR sites to the inventory via a submission form. In 2018, new MAR sites have been added from Australia, Canada, Iran, New Zealand, Peru and Spain. 

In addition to this global inventory of MAR sites, the portal also contains a selection of regional MAR suitability maps, which are developed to determine the most suitable places for implementing new MAR sites.

Raising awareness about MAR

As a tool to share MAR-related information and experiences, the MAR Portal contributes to raising awareness on MAR benefits and promoting new applications of MAR. To reach a larger audience, a promotional video about the MAR Portal was created and published. In addition, IGRAC presented the portal at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, during a session titled ‘Groundwater-based natural infrastructure (GNBI) solutions: The missing link to resilience’, co-organized by IGRAC and other GRIPP partners.

MAR suitability mapping

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MAR suitability mapping
MAR suitability mapping

In parallel, IGRAC carried out a research on MAR suitability mapping, with the support of an intern. The use of MAR suitability mapping was investigated in the Occitanie region (France). Different mapping methods were tested, and their results compared. This study provided insight on how to create meaningful MAR suitability maps. The main conclusion is that the potential for MAR can be assessed over a given region using relatively simple maps, which can be created with a limited number of criteria. It is believed that such maps can adequately inform decision-makers and promote new applications of MAR.  More information, including a download link to the full report, is given in the story: ‘MAR suitability mapping: A visual tool to raise awareness on the potential of MAR’. 

MAR in 2019

Also in 2019, MAR will remain a focal area at IGRAC. Apart from updating the MAR Portal and carrying out further research, IGRAC will be part of the technical committee of ISMAR10, the 10th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge. IGRAC will have several presentations and co-organize a workshop on MAR suitability mapping. This conference will be held on 20-24 May 2019 in Madrid, Spain.