A Surrogate Water Quality Index to assess groundwater using a unified DEA-OWA framework

Amar Oukil*, Ahmed Amin Soltani, Hamouda Boutaghane, Osman Abdalla, Abdelmalek Bermad, Mahmoud Hasbaia, Mohamed Rachid Boulassel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we introduce a new approach, based on a unified framework incorporating Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA), for assessing water quality in contextual settings that involve a large number of hydrochemical parameters. In order to enhance discrimination among water sources, the DEA model is adopted with data-driven input variables, called “surrogate optimistic closeness values,” computed through an aggregation procedure that includes the observed values of the hydrochemical parameters with OWA weights. The proposed DEA-OWA methodology has been employed to assess the quality of 51 water samples, collected from irrigation wells in Sereflikochisar Basin, Turkey, by means of 19 hydrochemical parameters. Using different subjectivity levels, the Surrogate Water Quality Indices (SWQIs) that are produced are proven effective in enhancing discrimination among the water sources while enabling a more robust water quality-based ranking. The k-means analysis has been used for clustering the water quality of the wells into Excellent, Good, Permissible, and Unsuitable rather than using pre-set boundaries. Only one water source has been identified as Excellent, whereas 17.65%, 45.10%, and 35.29% of the sampled wells, respectively, are categorized with Good, Permissible, and Unsuitable water quality. Inferred from wells’ location, the results suggest that the groundwater might be drastically affected by saline water intrusion from Lake Tuz. The latter conclusion has been corroborated through a Tobit regression analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56658-56685
Number of pages28
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA)
  • Groundwater
  • Optimistic closeness value
  • Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA)
  • Surrogate
  • Water Quality Index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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