Attendees at ISMAR10, Madrid, May 2019 – the latest triennial symposium of IAH-MAR, UNESCO and ASCE

Welcome to the website of the International Association of Hydrogeologists Commission on Managing Aquifer Recharge (IAH-MAR). Here you can discover what our working groups are doing and contribute to their current projects, you can download resources on MAR, connect with people, get information on symposia coming up, and join our email list to stay informed of latest news. We also have sister sites in Spanish and Chinese.

Managed Aquifer Recharge

Managed aquifer recharge, also called groundwater replenishment, water banking and artificial recharge, is the purposeful recharge of water to aquifers for subsequent recovery or environmental benefit.  It embraces methods such as riverbank filtration, stream bed weirs, infiltration ponds and injection wells, and uses natural water sources and appropriately treated urban stormwater, sewage and other waste waters to increase groundwater storage, protect and improve water quality,and secure drought and emergency supplies. Its growing scientific base supports its rapidly increasing use as a vital management tool in the sustainable use of the world’s water resources.

Latest News

12th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge

From Theory to Implementation and Operation

28 April – 2 May 2025 – Stellenbosch, South Africa

The 12th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (ISMAR12) will be held in the wine heartland of South Africa, Stellenbosch, from 28 April to 2 May 2025. The main theme “From Theory to Implementation and Operation” places the focus on the latest research, implementation of MAR sites and the practicality of operating MAR schemes. The 8 Sub-themes cover multiple aspects in the field of MAR in the domestic/municipal, agricultural, and mining sectors. Oral and Poster presentations, multiple workshops and social interactions will allow the delegates to present innovative solutions and discuss pressing societal challenges. Various exhibit opportunities and sponsoring opportunities exist. Pre-conference courses will allow the delegates to gain practical knowledge for our expert presenters. 3 end-of-the-week excursions are planned to showcase the latest MAR sites and the landscape of the Cape Town and Saldanha areas with networking opportunities. https://www.ismar12.org.za/ will soon have more information and timelines.

Organised by the IAH South Africa National Chapter

IAH-MAR Commission. Report of activities 2023

The report has been submitted to IAH Executive after 2024 Easter. Please, Access the 2023 report of activities with at least one member from our Commission participating in the listed events. Notice we consider the members of this commission all those subscribed in the IAH-MAR Forum and mailing list: https://lists.flinders.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/iah-mar.listcgs

Access the report: https://recharge.iah.org/files/2024/04/IAH-MAR-Annual-Report-2023-all.pdffconf.

International Riverbank Filtration Conference in Dresden, Germany, 16-18 October 2023

Add your contribution to the field of riverbank filtration (RBF): country-specific experiences on RBF application, clogging, hydraulic design, innovative site investigation techniques, operation and management, water quality aspects, post-treatment, environmental, social, economic and policy aspects, and awareness creation.

More info: https://www.htw-dresden.de/rbfconf.

What the Future Has in Store: A New Paradigm for Water Storage

The most recent report of World Bank Group recognises the role of water storage through managed aquifer recharge as crucial tool for climate change adaptation. The report highlights that:

“What the Future Has in Store: A New Paradigm for Water Storage calls for developing and driving multi-sectoral solutions to the water storage gap, taking approaches that integrate needs and opportunities across the whole system, including natural, built, and hybrid storage, to support many instead of few, for generations to come.”

Read the very interesting report here: https://bit.ly/3I3rdNj.

The 21st century water quality challenges for managed aquifer recharge: towards a risk-based regulatory approach

The IAH-MAR Commission has contributed to the Hydrogeology Journal’s the Year of Groundwater essay topical collection by articulating the need to designate a subsurface attenuation zone in MAR regulations so that the 21st water quality challenges can be met. Over time, a risk-based regulatory approach has advantages over a prescriptive and qualitative approach and is thus recommended.

Download article:

Zheng, Y., Vanderzalm, J., Hartog, N., Fernández Escalante, E., Stefan, C. (2022) The 21st century water quality challenges for managed aquifer recharge: towards a risk‐based regulatory approach. Hydrogeology Journal.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-022-02543-z

Managed Aquifer Recharge: Overview and Governance. IAH Special Publication.

Dillon, P., W. Alley, Y. Zheng, and J. Vanderzalm (editors), 2022, Managed Aquifer Recharge: Overview and Governance. IAH Special Publication (90p, 2.4 MB)

This book was produced as a joint effort of IAH, UNESCO and NGWA with encouragement of the Ground Water Project and published as a Special Publication of IAH in June 2022. Its three sections written by different teams give (1) an overview of purposes, types, source waters, advantages, challenges, and essential requirements of MAR; (2) an international synthesis of policy innovations to harness and encourage MAR in water resources management for sustainability in both developing and advanced jurisdictions; and (3) an overview of water quality management strategies for health and environmental protection in MAR from a variety of starting positions and capabilities. This helps to fill the major gaps in governance arrangements for MAR identified in Zheng et al (2021).


Section 1 Basic Concepts of Managed Aquifer Recharge
Section 2 Considerations for Water Resources Planning and Management
Section 3 Considerations for Water Quality Management

Download book

IAH-MAR Commission plenary at ISMAR 11. Long Beach, CA, April 13th.

April 13th has taken place our last IAH MAR Commission plenary during ISMAR 11. It has been attended by 55 “MARers”.

The presentation includes an update of the whole activities on going currently.

IAH-MAR Commission plenary presentation


International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge, ISMAR 11 has finished successfully! Some facts and figures!

April 11th to 15th. Long Beach, California, USA. From 2022 April 11th to 15th has taken place in Long Beach, Hilton Hotel, the 11th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (ISMAR 11), hosted by GRA and co-hosted by AHS and OCWD; under the auspices of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), UNESCO and ASCE, among others, under the title: “Managed aquifer recharge: A key to sustainability”.

The symposium counted on 350 delegates from 27 countries, and has had 26 technical sessions, 123 oral presentations, 7 posters, 2 keynote presentations, side events, three first day short courses, two technical field trips, one after-conference course, and plenty of knowledge.

More info; https://ismar11.net/

ISMAR 11´s Agenda!

Further information and technical/scientific releases from the conference will be posted shortly.

IAH-MAR Commission plenary during ISMAR 11. The current co-chairs have been re-elected

The last plenary has taken place in long Beach, Hilton hotel, last April 13th, 17 h. 54 in-person members of the MAR family were congregated according to the program exposed in the previous newsletter, and an undefined number of participants in streaming.

The current co-chairs have been re-elected for the next “inter-ISMARs period”. The IAH Executive received neither more candidacies nor expressions of interest, therefore elections were not necessary, and the current co-chairs have been re-elected by the complete plenary.

The co-chairs want to express gratitude for the confidence, and begin a new three-year mandate. The next elections will take place during ISMAR 12´s plenary by 2025 April 30th.

Photo: IAH-MAR co-chairs, from left to right: Catalin, Yan and Enrique.

Plenary agenda. 2022 April 12nd

ISMAR 11. Certificates of appreciation 2022

April 11th to 15th. Long Beach, California, USA. During ISMAR 11 plenary, five new certificates of appreciation were awarded to prominent members of the MAR Community, who have carried out tasks deserving such a recognition.

It is a motivation tradition, and with these, 22 members of the MAR family count on an award, signed by our IAH President, Dr. David Kreamer, and our IAH General Secretary, Dr. Jane Dottridge. The prizes were recognized in person by our IAH President and IAH-MAR co-chairs represented by Dr. Enrique Fdez. Escalante.   THE  AWARDEES WERE:

  • Adam Hutchinson and Robert Bower
  • Peter Dillon
  • Thomas Grischek
  • Sharon Megdal
  • Karen G. Villholth


Dr. Peter Dillon has received the 2022 Herman Bouwer Award

Our dear and admired former co-chair, founder of the IAH-MAR Commission and soul of this group, received the German Bouwer Award during ISMAR 11 luncheon.


ISMAR 11´s Post-conference Journal, Water special issue (MDPI). Finalished.

Selected papers presented at ISMAR 11 have been published in a Special Issue of the open-access journal WATER, continuing the tradition from previous symposia, including ISMAR 10. Access is open for all ISMAR 11 participants, and all members of the international MAR community.

The title of the special issue is: Managed Aquifer Recharge: A key to Sustainability and the included papers are available in electronic format. through this link: ttps://www.mdpi.com/journal/water/special_issues/Aquifer_Recharge.

Managing Aquifer Recharge: A Showcase for Resilience and Sustainability.
UNESCO-IAH Publication

In partnership with UNESCO-IHP and GRIPP, the IAH-MAR Commission has initiated the publication “Managing Aquifer Recharge: A Showcase for Resilience and Sustainability”.  This reflects the outputs of two working groups: MAR for Sustainable Development, and Economics of MAR.  The co-editors, Yan Zheng, Andrew Ross, Karen Villholth and Peter Dillon are grateful to the 28 MAR case studies contributors who went to enormous efforts to provide a detailed account from concept to implementation, enabling a cost-benefit analysis and a sustainability assessment reported in the synthesis.  The book showcase that precedent is no prerequisite, and that people at ground level who develop an understanding of their groundwater can design workable solutions to sustainably meet their needs using a wide range of MAR techniques. The MAR book, published in 2021, is a welcoming addition in anticipation to the ‘Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible’ theme, World Water Day 2022.

Download (30 MB): https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000379962

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