Groundwater crews ensure water reliability

Groundwater and Water Distribution Team
Building a robust groundwater program

Roseville has been a pinnacle of economic growth since the early 20th century. Over the years, we can attribute its prosperity to effective city management – from growing smartly, using resources wisely, and balancing the needs of residents, businesses and visitors. But, we also have to credit the valuable California resource worth its weight in gold – water – and how the city manages this resource then and now.

Surface water supply has been the go-to resource for years

The Barton Road Water Treatment Plant recently celebrated 50 years of continuous service. Since 1971, water from Folsom Lake has been distributed to the residents and businesses of Roseville. Although Roseville’s surface water supplies historically have been secure, previous and current droughts, coupled with studies exposing impacts of climate change, have made it clear that diversification is critical to achieving long-term water supply reliability.

Water supply diversity is mission-critical to reduce impacts of drought and climate change. One way we are staving against these impacts is with groundwater. That’s where the men and women of Environmental Utilities’ Water Distribution and Groundwater Program come in.


How groundwater works in our community

The city’s groundwater program is unique, as it operates many production wells using Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) technology. ASR provides the ability to do what the name dictates – store water by replenishing the aquifer with available surface water or recover it by bringing it up through the well for drinking water purposes.

While easy to imagine with that simple explanation, the overall scope of the operation is much more complex, involving the consistent application of science, engineering, operations, specialists – even customer service – to ensure all processes flow smoothly.

The groundwater program is made up of a small team that includes a hydrogeologist, an engineer, a management analyst, and the support of an intern. At times, a contractor is enlisted to assist with upgrades to existing systems. Their overall mission is to ensure the water cycled through the ASR system is of the highest standard, keeping the health and safety of the residents surrounding each well site a top priority. After all, the water that is recharged through wells and stored lies approximately 500 feet beneath the ground surface.

While the ASR wells can be viewed as parking garages, the water distribution systems they use are like the network of freeways, roads, and tunnels that lead to them. Both functions are crucial, as they heavily rely on each other to operate correctly.

The successful distribution of water to surrounding homes and businesses of each well requires constant surveillance and operational checks performed by water distribution workers, feedback from the community to customer service representatives, troubleshooting and maintenance from service call workers, and water quality oversight from supervisors and lead technicians. The team serves a community of over 140,000 people, with a staff of approximately 30 members.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be able to help the city become less reliant on its primary source of water supply,” said Jason Marks, senior engineer of the groundwater program. “Groundwater is an important source of reliability and I only see this program expanding further to secure Roseville’s economic future.”


Learn more about our water utility

Although conservation will always be an important measure during dry years, the city’s groundwater program has the capability to lighten conservation requirements while keeping up with water demands. This is accomplished during dry years or other emergencies by distributing groundwater, supplementing the increased production needs from the surface water plant.

Specifics of each division, as well as the capabilities and future of our water supply can be found at, but to fully appreciate the magnitude and contribution of its effect on Roseville is to understand the behind-the-scenes, on-scene, and after-hours crews that literally keep the water flowing in and out of our homes.

Groundwater by the numbers

• Six active wells – 4 with ASR technology
• Current plans are to double the number of wells over the next five years
• In 2019 and early 2020, when surface water supplies were plentiful, Roseville replenished the groundwater basin by storing more than 600 million gallons of surface water-the equivalent of filling 900 Olympic-sized pools
• This year, we have plans to extract up to 1.2 billion gallons of groundwater to support about 53,000 homes

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