The aim of the pilot study is to select a suitable area for underground dam MAR solution: a subsurface wall will be constructed to reduce groundwater flow, resulting in an increased amount of the groundwater stored behind the dam.

In order to find an optimal location for this underground dam, we are going to apply a two-step GIS based site selection methodology. First of all, we carry out a national level screening to find perspective regions. Then, we will proceed to the mapping of one perspective region to identify highly suitable places within it, by using a 3-level classification for ranking locations of low, moderate and high suitabilities. During this characterization proces, different parameter maps (surface characteristics including river network, geological and hydrogeological settings) are compared through GIS based Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) combined with Multi Influence Factoring (MIF) method. One of the key tasks is to explore and select paleo-channels of the ancient Maros River, which can form sediment bodies with an excellent groundwater storage capacity.

At the selected pilot site, a detailed investigation of the aquifer will be carried out through field measurements (geophysical measurements, groundwater sampling, pumping tests), and conceptual and numerical groundwater flow models will be developed too. The final result of this pilot study will be incorporated in the preliminary feasibility study, examining the viability of the selected managed aquifer recharge system. This will provide recommendations for the future implementation of the underground dam, which can help ensure a larger available amount of irrigation water for local farming communities.

This pilot activity will also provide comprehensive information supporting subsurface water retention methods and will be utilized for laying the foundations of an enabling policy framework which can give a kick-start to other water deficit alleviating projects in Hungary.