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An integrated study of spatial multicriteria analysis and mathematical modelling for managed aquifer recharge site suitability mapping and site ranking at Northern Gaza coastal aquifer

Rahman, Mohammad Azizur, Rusteberg, Bernd, Uddin, Mohammad Salah, Lutz, Annegret, Saada, Muath Abu, Sauter, Martin
Journal of environmental management 2013 v.124 pp. 25-39
aquifers, case studies, development projects, groundwater flow, mathematical models, ponds, wastewater treatment
This paper describes an integrated approach of site suitability mapping and ranking of the most suitable sites, for the implementation of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) projects, using spatial multicriteria decision analysis (SMCDA) techniques and mathematical modelling. The SMCDA procedure contains constraint mapping, site suitability analysis with criteria standardization and weighting, criteria overlay by analytical hierarchy process (AHP) combined with weighted linear combination (WLC) and ordered weighted averaging (OWA), and sensitivity analysis. The hydrogeological impacts of the selected most suitable sites were quantified by using groundwater flow and transport modelling techniques. Finally, ranking of the selected sites was done with the WLC method. The integrated approach is demonstrated by a case study in the coastal aquifer of North Gaza. Constraint mapping shows that 50% of the total study area is suitable for MAR implementation. About 25% of the total area is “very good” and 25% percent is “good” for MAR, according to the site suitability analysis. Six locations were selected and ranked against six representative decision criteria. Long term (year 2003 to year 2040) groundwater flow and transport simulations were performed to quantify the selected criteria under MAR project operation conditions at the selected sites. Finally, the suitability mapping and hydrogeological investigation recommends that the location of the existing infiltration ponds, constructed near the planned North Gaza Wastewater Treatment Plant (NGWWTP) is most suitable for MAR project implementation. This paper concludes that mathematical modelling should be combined with the SMCDA technique in order to select the best location for MAR project implementation. Besides MAR project implementation, the generalised approach can be applicable for any other water resources development project that deals with site selection and implementation.