When evaluating uncertainties in developing an aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) system, under normal budgetary constraints, a systematic approach is needed to prioritise investigations. Three case studies where field trials have been undertaken, and clogging evaluated, reveal the changing perceptions of viability of ASR from a clogging perspective as a result of the progress of investigations. Two stormwater and one recycled water ASR investigations in siliceous aquifers are described that involved different strategies to evaluate the potential for clogging. This paper reviews these sites, as well as earlier case studies and information relating water quality, to clogging in column studies. Two novel theoretical concepts are introduced in the paper. Bayesian analysis is applied to demonstrate the increase in expected net benefit in developing a new ASR operation by undertaking clogging experiments (that have an assumed known reliability for predicting viability) for the injectant treatment options and aquifer material from the site. Results for an example situation demonstrate benefit cost ratios of experiments ranging from 1.5 to 6 and apply if decisions are based on experimental results whether success or failure are predicted. Additionally, a theoretical assessment of clogging rates characterised as acute and chronic is given, to explore their combined impact, for two operating parameters that define the onset of purging for recovery of reversible clogging and the onset of occasional advanced bore rehabilitation to address recovery of chronic clogging. These allow the assessment of net recharge and the proportion of water purged or redeveloped. Both analyses could inform economic decisions and help motivate an improved investigation methodology. It is expected that aquifer heterogeneity will result in differing injection rates among wells, so operational experience will ultimately be valuable in differentiating clogging behaviour under different aquifer conditions for the same water type. This paper was originally presented at ISMAR9, Mexico City 20–24 June 2016.
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