A hybrid multiple criteria decision-making model for the sustainable management of aquifers

  • Banafsheh Sheikhipour
  • Saman JavadiEmail author
  • Mohammad Ebrahim Banihabib
Original Article


In this study, a hybrid multiple criteria decision-making (HMCDM) model was proposed for prioritizing scenarios for managing groundwater use from an aquifer. Three scenarios, including the construction of subsurface dams, the use of artificial recharge and reducing groundwater use by 5% and 10% were considered to assess the most sustainable development approach. The examined MCDM models were: simple additive weighting (SAW); and MTAHP which is a hybridization of the modified TOPSIS and the analytic hierarchy process models. The criteria proposed for determining the order preference of the scenarios included the sustainable development index (IU) and a modified water exploitation index as well as economic, social and environmental indices. To assess the technical and economic impacts of the management scenarios, modeling of the aquifer was simulated for a 3-year period using these scenarios. The results of the assessment indicated that the scenario of water withdrawal reduction by 10% was the best scenario determined in MTAHP followed by a reduction in groundwater withdrawal by 5%, the use of artificial recharge and the construction of a subsurface dam, respectively. The difference between the results of MTAHP and SAW models was in their first and third ranks, in such a way artificial recharge scored the first rank in SAW model and the third rank in MTAHP model, also withdrawal reduction by 10% scored third rank in SAW model and first rank in MTAHP model. The results of these two models have demonstrated that the construction of a subsurface dam in Shahrekord aquifer is not an appropriate management option. According to the results of this study, MTAHP models can be applied for ranking feasible management scenarios in aquifers using the redefined sustainable development and modified groundwater exploitation indices introduced in this study.


Sustainable groundwater management MTAHP Multiple criteria decision-making Sustainability index Hybrid MCDM 


  1. Al-Ismaily SS, Al-Maktoumi AK, Kacimov AR, Al-Saqri SM, Al-Busaidi HA (2013) Impact of a recharge dam on the hydropedology of arid zone soils in Oman: anthropogenic formation factor. J Hydrol Eng 20:04014053CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anonymous (2012) Second phase studies of artificial recharge in Shahrekord Plain. Chaharmahal Provincial Water Authority, ShahrekordGoogle Scholar
  3. Azarnivand A, Hashemi-Madani FS, Banihabib ME (2014) Extended fuzzy analytic hierarchy process approach in water and environmental management (case study: Lake Urmia Basin, Iran). Environ Earth Sci 73:13–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Banihabib ME, Shabestari MH (2016) Fuzzy hybrid MCDM model for ranking the agricultural water demand management strategies in arid areas. Water Resour Manag. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Banihabib ME, Shabestari MH (2017) Decision models for the ranking of agricultural water demand management strategies in an arid region irrigation and drainage. Irrig Drain 66:773–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Banihabib ME, Azarnivand A, Peralta RC (2015) A new framework for strategic planning to stabilize a shrinking lake. Lake Reserv Manag 31:31–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Banihabib ME, Hashemi-Madani F-S, Forghani A (2017a) Comparison of compensatory and non-compensatory multi criteria decision making models in water resources strategic management water resources management: an international journal. Eur Water Resour Assoc (EWRA) 31:3745–3759Google Scholar
  8. Banihabib ME, Hashemi F, Shabestari MH (2017b) A framework for sustainable strategic planning of water demand and supply in arid regions. Sustain Dev 25:254–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chezgi J, Pourghasemi HR, Naghibi SA, Moradi HR, Kheirkhah Zarkesh M (2016) Assessment of a spatial multi-criteria evaluation to site selection underground dams in the Alborz Province. Iran Geocarto Int 31:628–646CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davijani MH, Anvar AN, Banihabib M (2014) Locating water desalination facilities for municipal drinking water based on qualitative and quantitative characteristics of groundwater in Iran’s desert regions. Water Resour Manag 28:3341–3353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. EEA (2013) Results and lessons from implementing the Water Assets Accounts in the EEA area. From concept to production. European Environment Agency, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  12. Habibi D, Banihabib M, Hashemi S (2013) Development of optimization model for water allocation in agriculture. Industry and service sectors by using advanced algorithm, GAPSO. J Water Soil 27(4):680–691Google Scholar
  13. Habibi M, Banihabib M, Anvar AN, Hashemi S (2016) Optimization model for the allocation of water resources based on the maximization of employment in the agriculture and industry sectors. J Hydrol 533:430–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hajkowicz S, Collins K (2007) A review of multiple criteria analysis for water resource planning and management. Water Resour Manag 21:1553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hwang C-L, Yoon K (1981) Methods for multiple attribute decision making. In: Multiple attribute decision making, vol 186. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 58–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ishida S, Tsuchihara T, Yoshimoto S, Imaizumi M (2011) Sustainable use of groundwater with underground dams. Jpn Agric Res Q 45:51–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jafari F, Javadi S, Golmohammadi G, Mohammadi K, Khodadadi A, Mohammadzadeh M (2016) Groundwater risk mapping prediction using mathematical modeling and the Monte Carlo technique. Environ Earth Sci 75:491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jamali IA (2016) Subsurface dams in water resource management: methods for assessment and location. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  19. Lalehzari R, Tabatabaei S (2015) Simulating the impact of subsurface dam construction on the change of nitrate distribution. Environ Earth Sci 74:3241–3249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Martin-Carrasco F, Garrote L, Iglesias A, Mediero L (2013) Diagnosing causes of water scarcity in complex water resources systems and identifying risk management actions. Water Resour Manag 27:1693–1705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Neshat A, Pradhan B (2017) Evaluation of groundwater vulnerability to pollution using DRASTIC framework and GIS. Arab J Geosci 10:501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pedro-Monzonís M, Solera A, Ferrer J, Estrela T, Paredes-Arquiola J (2015) A review of water scarcity and drought indexes in water resources planning and management. J Hydrol 527:482–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ren L, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Sun Z (2007) Comparative analysis of a novel M-TOPSIS method and TOPSIS. Appl Math Res eXpress 2007:abm005Google Scholar
  24. Saaty TL (1980) The analytic hierarchy process: planning, priority setting, resources allocation. McGraw, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Saaty TL (1990) Decision making for leaders: the analytic hierarchy process for decisions in a complex world. RWS Publications, BelmontGoogle Scholar
  26. Sashikkumar M, Selvam S, Kalyanasundaram VL, Johnny JC (2017) GIS based groundwater modeling study to assess the effect of artificial recharge: A case study from Kodaganar river basin, Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu. J Geol Soc India 89:57–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Shi X, Jiang S, Xu H, Jiang F, He Z, Wu J (2016) The effects of artificial recharge of groundwater on controlling land subsidence and its influence on groundwater quality and aquifer energy storage in Shanghai, China. Environ Earth Sci 75:195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stevanovic Z (2015) Subsurface dams as a solution for supplementary recharge and groundwater storage in Karst aquifers in Arid areas. In: Lollino G, Manconi A, Guzzetti F, Culshaw M, Bobrowsky P, Luino F (eds) Engineering geology for society and territory, vol 5. Springer, Cham, pp 471–474Google Scholar
  29. Vanrompay L (2003) Report on the technical evaluation and impact assessment of subsurface dams (SSDs). TLDP Technical ReportGoogle Scholar
  30. Vicente-Serrano SM, Beguería S, López-Moreno JI (2010) A multiscalar drought index sensitive to global warming: the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index. J Clim 23:1696–1718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yilmaz B, Harmancioglu N (2010) Multi-criteria decision making for water resource management: a case study of the Gediz River Basin, Turkey Water SA 36Google Scholar
  32. Zahedi S, Azarnivand A, Chitsaz N (2017) Groundwater quality classification derivation using multi-criteria-decision-making techniques. Ecol Indic 78:243–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zekri S, Triki C, Al-Maktoumi A, Bazargan-Lari MR (2015) An optimization-simulation approach for groundwater abstraction under recharge. Uncertain Water Resour Manag 29:3681–3695. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zeng Z, Liu J, Savenije HH (2013) A simple approach to assess water scarcity integrating water quantity and quality. Ecol Indic 34:441–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Banafsheh Sheikhipour
    • 1
  • Saman Javadi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mohammad Ebrahim Banihabib
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, College of AbouraihanUniversity of TehranTehranIran

Personalised recommendations