Prineville recently won an award from the League of Oregon Cities, recognizing the development of the “Aquifer Storage and Recovery System.”
It’s cool science: Hydrology, geology and engineering all mixed together.
Here’s how the ASR works. During the winter when demand is low, they pump water out of their valley-floor aquifer which supplies the city’s drinking water. They purify that water and put it into the regular city system.
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Then they pump it up onto the rimrock above town near the airport, where an “injection” well is used to inject it back into the earth, into a different aquifer. That aquifer is a 5 million-year-old channel of the Crooked River.
The water can be stored there and then retrieved in the summer when the city needs it most.