A hybrid statistical decision-making optimization approach for groundwater vulnerability considering uncertainty

Yalda Norouzi Gharakezloo, Mohammad Reza Nikoo*, Ayoub Karimi-Jashni, Mehrdad Ghorbani Mooselu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Recognizing the vulnerable areas for contamination is a feasible way to protect groundwater resources. The main contribution of the paper is developing a hybrid statistical decision-making model for evaluating the vulnerability of Shiraz aquifer, southern Iran, with modified DRASTIC (depth to the water table, net recharge, aquifer media, soil media, topography, impact of the vadose zone, and hydraulic conductivity) by using the genetic algorithm (GA), the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) method, and factorial analysis (FA). First, considering the variation of the uncertain parameters, 32 scenarios were defined to perform factorial analysis. Then using the AHP method and GA, DRASTIC parameters were rated and weighted in all scenarios. To achieve the optimal weights for parameters, the objective function in GA was maximizing the correlation coefficient between the vulnerability index and the nitrate concentration. The single and interactive effects of parameters on groundwater vulnerability were analyzed by factorial analysis. The results revealed that the net recharge had the highest single effect, and the resulted effect between net recharge and hydraulic conductivity was the most significant interactive effect on the objective function. Besides, the variation of aquifer media does not change the objective function. The application of the proposed method leads to a precise groundwater vulnerability map. This research provides valuable knowledge for assessing groundwater vulnerability and enables decision-makers to apply groundwater vulnerability information in future water resources management plans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8597-8612
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 7 2021


  • Decision-making model
  • Factorial analysis
  • Genetic algorithm
  • Groundwater vulnerability
  • Hybrid statistical model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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