Demonstration Recharge, Extraction and Aquifer Management (DREAM) Project

Picture1.jpgThe DREAM Project is an interregional pilot groundwater banking effort that improves water supply reliability and resiliency in both San Joaquin County and the East Bay. In addition, the DREAM Project provides San Joaquin County with an additional water source and funding to protect the Eastern San Joaquin (ESJ) Subbasin. The pilot project is being conducted by San Joaquin County, North San Joaquin Water Conservation District (NSJWCD), Eastern Water Alliance (EWA), and EBMUD.

Project Concept


The pilot project uses in-lieu groundwater banking to store groundwater in the ESJ Subbasin. EBMUD provides NSJWCD with up to 1,000 acre-feet of EBMUD surface water from the Mokelumne River. Participating landowners can use the EBMUD surface water supply for irrigation instead (in-lieu) of pumping groundwater from the ESJ Subbasin, thereby allowing groundwater to be banked for future use. Under the DREAM groundwater export permit issued by San Joaquin County in 2017, EBMUD can draw up to half of the banked groundwater, minus five percent for losses, to use as supplemental supply. The other half will remain in the ESJ Subbasin to help replenish groundwater levels in the region.

Recharge Operations


EBMUD released the entire 1,000 acre-feet of Mokelumne River water available to NSJWCD as part of the pilot project in 2018, 2019, and 2023. About 345 acre-feet of the water released was diverted by NSJWCD and used for irrigation. The remaining water recharged into the basin, with a portion lost to evapotranspiration.


Extraction Operations 


An existing irrigation well operated by NSJWCD is used to extract the banked groundwater for this project. The additional facilities required to convey groundwater nearly three miles from this well and into EBMUD’s Mokelumne Aqueducts were constructed in 2022. Groundwater extraction took place for approximately two weeks in February 2023 to test the facilities that brought San Joaquin County groundwater into EBMUD’s raw water system for the first time. About 40 acre-feet of groundwater was incorporated with EBMUD’s Mokelumne water supply.

Additional groundwater extraction was conducted from January through April in 2024. Approximately 223 acre-feet of water was extracted and incorporated with EBMUD’s Mokelumne water supply.

Safe and Reliable Future Water

Prior to delivering water to customers throughout the East Bay, EBMUD treats raw water to levels that meet or exceed standards for safe drinking water.  For the DREAM Project, EBMUD blends groundwater into our raw water source and maintains the same high standards of treatment and testing. EBMUD has analyzed the DREAM Project groundwater source for over 400 constituents over a period of one year. Much like EBMUD’s current drinking water sources, these constituents are less than the maximum contaminant levels set by the EPA.

The DREAM pilot project will be used to evaluate the possibility of pursuing a larger groundwater banking project in San Joaquin County with the goal of improving EBMUD’s long-term water supply reliability, while also benefitting the ESJ Subbasinin.

Contact Information

Grace Su, Senior Civil Engineer
Email: Grace Su
Phone: 510-287-7013

Other Sources of Information

Additional details about the DREAM Project can be found on San Joaquin County’s DREAM webpage and NSJWCD’s website.