Multi-variable approach to groundwater vulnerability elucidation: A risk-based multi-objective optimization model

Masoumeh Zare, Mohammad Reza Nikoo*, Banafsheh Nematollahi, Amir H. Gandomi, Raziyeh Farmani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Groundwater vulnerability mapping is essential in environmental management since there is an increase in contamination caused by excessive population growth. However, to our knowledge, there is rare research dedicated to optimizing the groundwater vulnerability models, considering risk conditions, using a robust multi-objective optimization algorithm coupled with a multi-criteria decision-making model (MCDM). This study filled this knowledge gap by developing an innovative hybrid risk-based multi-objective optimization model using three distinguished models. The first model generated two series of scenarios for rate modifications associated with two common contaminations, Nitrate and Sulfate, based on susceptibility index (SI) and DRASTICA models. The second model was a multi-objective optimization framework using non-dominated sorting genetic algorithms- II and III (NSGA-II and NSGA-III), considering uncertainties in the input rates by the conditional value-at-risk (CVaR) technique. Finally, the third model was a well-known MCDM model, the COmplex PRoportional ASsessment (COPRAS), which identified the best compromise solution among Pareto-optimal solutions for weights of the contaminations. Regarding the Sulfate's results, although the optimized DRASTICA model led to the same correlation as the initial model, 0.7, the optimized SI model increased the correlation to 0.8 compared to the initial model as 0.58. For the Nitrate, both the optimized SI and the optimized DRASTICA models raised the correlation to 0.6 and 0.7 compared to the initial model with a correlation value of 0.36, respectively. Hence, the best and the lowest correlation among the optimized models were between SI and Sulfate concentration and SI and Nitrate concentration, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117842
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2023


  • Complex proportional assessment (COPRAS) technique
  • Groundwater vulnerability map
  • Land use-based index model
  • Multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) model
  • Non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm- II and III (NSGA-II and NSGA-III)
  • Uncertainty
  • Nitrates/analysis
  • Algorithms
  • Groundwater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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