Precipitation in California varies significantly from year to year. In dry years, water suplies are often insufficient to meet all of California's needs. However, in wet years, there is often excess water available. The Kern Water Bank stores water in wet years by recharging an underground aquifer through shallow ponds. The water is later recovered by wells when needed.
- “Recharge” on the Kern Water Bank is the storage of water by recharging an underground aquifer through shallow ponds. (The water bank does not use injection wells to recharge water.) The water comes primarily from the State Water Project via the California Aqueduct - some flood flows from the Kern River and the Central Valley Projct have also been recharged. The Kern Water Bank does not recharge recycled water supplies.
- “Recovery” entails pumping the water back out of the aquifer using a system of wells, pipelines, and canals.
The diagram below illustrates both the recharge and recovery process.