The future of any industry belongs to those providing solutions to tough problems. Take drought, for instance. As a problem, it’s about as tough as they come.

California. Brazil. South Africa. India. All of these areas suffered from drought in 2015. Other areas of the globe have as well, but these four – all population centers – come to mind as I write this. Once areas like these find themselves in drought, the only “solutions” leaders have are reactive.

That brings me to a story we did for January’s National Driller. Associate editor Valerie King wrote about a project Hydro Resources is working on in Denver. The water utility there, Denver Water, is looking into using aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) and hired Hydro Resources to do test bores. The concept, as many of my readers know, involves stashing water underground during wet seasons or years, and pulling it back out during leaner times.

ASR is not new. But it’s a proactive technology that drought-prone areas should deploy to capture water during rainy peaks and use it to fill in the drier troughs. Its use can smooth out the boom-bust cycle of rain in some areas, making droughts – when they happen – less severe.

“It could be an important supply option for us down the road,” says Denver Waters’ Bob Peters, who’s overseeing the investigation there.

I don’t expect ASR to end drought. Weather is complex and global. In California’s case, one I’ve read and written about quite a bit, the lack of rain is historic. Consumption, for agriculture, households and everything else, has remained high – even amid recent conservation mandates. But ASR is a clever tool that could soften the edge of future droughts in a place like California.

And it’s another solution that the drilling industry can offer to a tough problem.

“If they were to go through with this, the potential for our business would be huge,” says Jasen Decker of Hydro Resources, who served as drilling manager. Decker’s spot on. If more areas deploy ASR, it means more jobs for water consultants and system designers, hydrologists and drillers. Denver’s looking into it. ASR’s already at work in parts of Oregon and Texas. It’s been a big success in Salisbury, Australia. Maybe it could work in your area.

What do you think? Are you working on an ASR project? Do you think it could help your area? What are the downsides? Send me an email and share your thoughts.

Stay safe out there, drillers.