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Locating suitable sites for construction of subsurface dams in semiarid region of Iran: using modified ELECTRE III

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Due to the climate change and global warming, water shortage is known as a serious worldwide issue particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Utilization of subsurface dams (SSD) could be a solution to this matter, but finding a suitable site for construction of a SSD is an engineering challenge. Selection of the optimum location is carried out by evaluating different positive and negative criteria. Criteria are combined by means of multi-criteria decision-making methods (MCDM), such as AHP, ANP, TOPSIS and other well-known methods. In these research, because of the complexity of the decision and this fact that the results in other MCDM methods are very similar to each other, we choose ELECTRE method which is performed for site selection of SSDs. 10 regions out of 50 are studied as SSD alternatives in Isfahan province of Iran. For performing ELECTRE method, 14 criteria have been defined based on four different aspects of SSD construction that are hydrogeology, socio-economy, geology and climate change. The most important criteria include average annual rainfall, area of upper basin, distance from villages and stream slope. The modified ELECTRE III method was used to rank the alternatives from the most suitable choice for constructing a subsurface dam to the least. Hoseinabad area was finally selected to construct the sub-surface dam. Application of an advanced MCDM method like ELECTRE reduces some uncertainties in SSD site selection and this developed methodology can be used as a base for more detailed field investigations.

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(modified after Foster et al. 2008)

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(modified after Safinejad and Dadras 2000)

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(modified after VSF 2006, Forzieri et al. 2008)

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the member of Isfahan Centre for Research of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources and Experts who gave the authors help during the survey. We are very grateful to anonymous reviewers who helped us and gave valuable comments.

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Correspondence to Faramarz Doulati Ardejani.

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Article impact statement

Subsurface dam constructions especially in arid and semiarid regions are a way for optimized use of groundwater. Site selection of these kind of dam depends on many factors. In this study, a knowledge-driven method called ELECTRE III was employed to deal with this challenge.

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Dortaj, A., Maghsoudy, S., Doulati Ardejani, F. et al. Locating suitable sites for construction of subsurface dams in semiarid region of Iran: using modified ELECTRE III. Sustain. Water Resour. Manag. 6, 7 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40899-020-00362-2

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  • Groundwater management
  • Site selection
  • Multi-criteria decision-making
  • Climate change