Costs of Artificial Recharge

For wider adoption of artificial recharging and use of a particular method, the cost of recharge and recovery of various artificial recharge methods is an important parameter that needs to be determined. Full-scale artificial recharge operations in India are limited and, as a consequence, cost information from such operations is incomplete.

The cost of recharge schemes, in general, depends upon the degree of treatment of the source water, the distance over which the source water must be transported and stability of recharge structures and resistance to siltation and/or clogging. In general, the costs of construction and of operation of the recharge structures, except in the case of injection wells in alluvial areas, are reasonable; the comparative costs of recharged water per 1000 m3 in such cases works out to $1-3. On the other hand, the cost of using recharged groundwater for domestic water supply purposes, varying from $0.05 to $0.15/person/year, is very reasonable, especially in areas where there is shortage of water (CGWB, 1984). The initial investment and operating costs are many times less than those required for supplying potable water using tankers; combining technologies can also result in cost savings. For example, in Maharashtra, the capital cost of combining connector well and tank into a hybrid scheme was about $900 (the cost of a borehole) compared to the cost of a comparable percolation tank system needed to achieve a similar degree of recharge (estimated to be about $120,000). Table 10.1 summarizes the estimated costs of various artificial recharge methods.

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