Managed Aquifer Recharge is the deliberate infiltration and storage of surface water in aquifers through passive infiltration basins or dry wells for future recovery and use. The Managed Aquifer Recharge Action team works to identify and implement projects that abate groundwater overdraft of the Pajaro Valley hydrologic basin using groundwater recharge methods. The team has a goal of achieving 1000 AF of recharge per year through 10 managed aquifer recharge projects. Learn more about this team’s accomplishments and ongoing projects here.

UCSC led a GIS analysis of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) suitability within the Pajaro Valley. 

You can download that study here: Russo, et al. 2014, Assessment of Managed Aquifer Recharge Site Suitability Using a GIS and Modeling

Click below to enlarge map showing MAR suitability analysis:


mar basinUCSC and RCDSCC staff and students are now conducting a county assessment of managed recharge suitability, including GIS work and runoff analyses.

In 2012 CWD partners completed construction on the first small scale MAR pilot project designed to improve water supply, which includes Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates and Reiter Affiliated Companies, along with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (RCDSCC), USDA - NRCS, the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB), and landowners. Location-specific strategies were tested for routing runoff, minimizing siltation, cycling nutrients, and achieving other water quality benefits as excess surface flow (rainfall) is percolated into underlying aquifers. Monitoring and quantification of improvements (amount of water put into aquifers, benefits to water quality) are essential components of these projects.

With funding through the CA Dept. of Water Resources Integrated Regional Water Management Program, the RCDSCC, UCSC and partners have secured funding to implement two additional MAR projects within the Pajaro Valley, furthering the team’s progress towards its goal of implementing 10 MAR projects to achieve 1000 AF of recharge per year.

For more information contact Emily Paddock at or Dr. Andy Fisher at