The City desires to make changes that result in higher long-term aquifer levels, protecting water quality and safeguarding against drought. Current permit conditions for ASR operations will require Wichita to lower the aquifer to create ASR credits.
The proposed modifications would provide needed flexibility to operate, accumulate credits in a different way, and achieve higher aquifer levels overall.
How will this affect other users of groundwater within the ASR project area?
The establishment of AMC’s will align and support the City of Wichita’s outcome based resource management strategy. The strategy benefits all users by maintaining the aquifer at higher levels and avoids aquifer depletions that would be required to develop physical recharge capacity.
The aquifer has reached near full conditions, isn’t that the goal of ASR?
The goals of ASR are to help restore and maintain groundwater levels within the ASR project area and to establish recharge credits for use during an extended drought.
The recent recovery to near-full aquifer conditions is a benefit of reduced aquifer use; it is anticipated that using ASR to process Little Arkansas River water when it is available to meet Wichita’s demand will also benefit the aquifer.
The current ASR permit allows for lowering the aquifer so ASR credits can be produced. The proposed permit revisions will allow for AMC’s to be created without lowering the aquifer. The result is a higher long-term aquifer condition, which serves to safeguard against drought.
Will the City continue to conduct physical ASR recharge operations?
Yes, the City will continue recharge operations when the aquifer has adequate physical recharge capacity.
Recharging the aquifer to maintain higher water levels will benefit all users by making the Equus Beds more drought resilient and by slowing the advance of chloride contamination.
These have been the primary goals of ASR all along, and not only will efforts continue, but the outcomes will be more beneficial with approval of the proposed changes.
Under what conditions would the City be generating aquifer maintenance credits?
AMC’s would only be generated when the aquifer is too full to inject ASR water into the aquifer. When water levels allow, the City would be required to recharge the aquifer to accumulate credits.
The number of AMC’s generated will be limited by the availability of Little Arkansas River water. The City will maintain minimum streamflows in accordance with the ASR operations permit.
AMC’s accrued will be equally distributed to all City Wells within the well field, and documented in the annual ASR accounting report.
Is there a limit on the total combined quantity of physical recharge credits and AMCs?
Currently, there is no regulatory limit to the amount of ASR credits the City is allowed to accrue. The proposed permit conditions will impose a cap on the total number of ASR credits the City would be allowed to accumulate.
The total accumulation of recharge credits through physical recharge and AMC’s combined would not be allowed to exceed 120,000 AF. This is approximately 5% of the total aquifer storage in the ASR project area or 11% of total aquifer storage within the City’s wellfield area.
What affect will this have on chloride intrusion or water quality within the ASR project area?
This change would result in higher long-term aquifer levels, protecting water quality by slowing the chloride intrusion. Natural aquifer recovery restores the aquifer without the City needing to pump the aquifer down to make room for injection.