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.
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.