Diagram of aquifer storage and recovery

The Seasonal Releases with Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Feasibility Study will evaluate the potential to divert, inject and store wet season Salinas River flows in the northern Salinas Valley aquifers as a potential approach to mitigating the inland progression of seawater intrusion.

Diversifying water resources is essential in this critically overdrafted groundwater basin, which supports a robust agriculture economy that grows more than half of the country’s lettuces. Communities here also are groundwater-dependent.

This water would be injected and stored in the vicinity of Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project (CSIP) supplemental wells. In the dry months, the stored water could be extracted and delivered to growers for irrigation purposes through CSIP as needed, reducing the need to pump native groundwater.

Stored water through ASR may reduce the need for summertime reservoir releases and provide functional flows more akin to natural river flows. It would potentially maintain groundwater elevations and improve water quality. Alternatively, diverted water could be treated and used for beneficial reuse that would reduce groundwater pumping.

This study will look at the technical feasibility of this concept, as well as determining the operational permitting constraints and alignment with existing water rights and permitting for the existing infrastructure in place at the Nacimiento and San Antonio Reservoirs, the Salinas River Diversion Facility and Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project. This feasibility study is being closely coordinated with the Monterey County Water Resources Agency.