Photo by Hugh Shipman.

VSP Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas Resources

The goal of establishing critical aquifer recharge areas (CARA) is to protect the functions and values of a community’s drinking water by preventing pollution and maintaining supply. Get resources for incorporating critical aquifer recharge areas into your Voluntary Stewardship Program.

How to protect groundwater resources

The Growth Management Act defines CARAs as “areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water.” The following steps characterize where groundwater resources are important to understanding how to protect them.

  • Identify where groundwater resources are located.
  • Analyze the susceptibility of the natural setting where ground water occurs.
  • Inventory existing potential sources of groundwater contamination.
  • Classify the relative vulnerability of ground water to contamination events.
  • Designate areas that are most at risk to contamination events.
  • Protect by minimizing activities and conditions that pose contamination risks.
  • Ensure that contamination prevention plans and best management practices are followed.
  • Manage groundwater withdrawals and recharge impacts to:
    • Maintain availability for drinking water sources.
    • Maintain stream base flow from ground water to support in-stream flows, especially for salmon-bearing streams.  

We can provide technical assistance to local governments working to protect the functions and values of a community’s drinking water by preventing pollution and maintaining supply. Our Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas Guidance Document helps you understand what is required for protecting local groundwater resources under the Growth Management Act. 

This information, including background information on aquifer recharge and aquifer susceptibility, is useful when addressing critical aquifer recharge areas in local voluntary stewardship plans.

Resources

Map Data

Contact

Laurie Morgan
Watershed Groundwater Specialist
Laurie.Morgan@ecy.wa.gov
360-407-6483



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