This paper summarizes and discusses the various aspects and methods of artificial recharge with particular emphasis on its uses and potential role in water management in the Arabian Gulf region. Artificial recharge occurs when man's activities cause more water to enter an aquifer, either under pumping or non-pumping conditions, than otherwise would enter the aquifer. Use of artificial recharge can be a practical means of dealing with problems of overdraft of groundwater. Methods of artificial recharge may be grouped under two broad types: (a) water spreading techniques, and (b) well-injection techniques. Successful use of artificial recharge requires a thorough knowledge of the physical and chemical characteristics of the aquifier system, and extensive onsite experimentation and tailoring of the artificial-recharge technique to fit the local or areal conditions. In general, water spreading techniques are less expensive than well injection and large quantities of water can be handled. Water spreading can also result in significant improvement in quality of recharge waters during infiltration and movement through the unsaturated zone and the receiving aquifer. In comparison, well-injection techniques are often used for emplacement of fresh recharge water into saline aquifer zones to form a manageable lens of fresher water, which may later be partially withdrawn for use or continue to be maintained as a barrier against salt-water encroachment. A major advantage in use of groundwater is its availability, on demand to wells, from a natural storage reservoir that is relatively safe from pollution and from damage by sabotage or other hostile action. However, fresh groundwater occurs only in limited quantities in most of the Arabian Gulf region; also, it is heavily overdrafted in many areas, and receives very little natural recharge. Good use could be made of artificial recharge by well injection in replenishing and managing aquifers in strategic locations if sources of freshwater could be made available for the artificial-recharge operations. ?? 1989.
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Artificial recharge of groundwater and its role in water management