The construction of a significant number of large dams has assisted in addressing the boom: bust cycle within the Australian hydrologic paradigm. The costs associated with these structures and the impacts that they cause is now well understood, yet few favourable alternatives have been identified from which to augment traditional solutions. There has also been a rising awareness associated with the liabilities associated with large dams, specifically being able to successfully survive the climatic variations that Victoria has recently experienced. As such, alternate water storage options are even more desired. An emerging option within the Victorian landscape is Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR), a subset of which is known as Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR).
One of the most significant advantages of this type of approach relates to the ability to significantly reduce the cost of traditional storage, thus reducing the financial burden on the Victorian community.
Whilst the degree of interest in MAR projects in Victoria is growing there is still a significant knowledge gap in this area, and as such, Victoria is constrained from capitalising on this opportunity as a result. To overcome this challenge, support for projects such as this will lead to a growth in the skill base within Victoria, further aiding the water industry’s ability to face the emerging challenges without expensive solutions.
In 2009/10, a successful MAR trial utilising the Mitchell River Water Supply System was undertaken by East Gippsland Water (EGW) and in response to the updated Water Supply and Demand Strategy, additional bulk raw water storage is required. To assist the further deployment of this promising technique, through this project, EGW is seeking to advance the small scale trial into a large scale, fully operational scheme.