Methodological proposal for the allocation of water quality monitoring stations using strategic decision analysis

  • Micael de Souza FragaEmail author
  • Demetrius David da Silva
  • Abrahão Alexandre Alden Elesbon
  • Hugo Alexandre Soares Guedes


In order to fill a gap in the monitoring of water quality in Brazil, the objective of this study was to propose a methodology to support the allocation of water quality monitoring stations in river basins. To achieve this goal, eight criteria were selected and weighted according to their degree of importance. It was taken into account the opinion of water resources management experts. In addition, a decision support system was designed so that the methodology could be used in the allocation of water quality monitoring stations by researchers and management bodies of water resources, to be fully implemented in geographic information system environment. In order to demonstrate the potential of the proposed methodology, which can be used in places that have or not existing monitoring networks, it has been applied in the Minas Gerais portion of the Doce river basin. Because the area already has a monitoring network with 65 stations in operation under the responsibility of the Minas Gerais Water Management Institute (IGAM), an expansion of the network was suggested and a simulation of a scenario was performed considering that the study area did not have an established network. The results of the analyses consisted of maps of suitability, indicating the locations with greater and lesser suitability for the establishment of the stations. With the application of the methodology, seven new sites were proposed so that the study area had the density recommended by the National Water Agency (ANA), and it was verified that the Caratinga River Water Resources Management Unit (UGRH5 Caratinga) has the most deficiency of stations among the six units evaluated in the Minas Gerais portion of the Doce river basin. In the simulated scenario considering the non-existence of a network, the adequacy map obtained was compared with the existing monitoring network and it was possible to classify the stations according to the purpose for which they were established, such as monitoring environments under anthropic activities or establishing benchmarks for the water bodies. Overall, the proposed methodology proved itself robust, and although the results were specific to one basin, the criteria and decision support system used are fully applicable to other areas of study.


Brazilian watershed Monitoring network Multi-criteria decision analysis Water pollution 


Funding information

The authors would like to thank the Brazilian Agencies CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico - National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) and Fapemig (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais - Foundation for Research Support of the State of Minas Gerais) for its financial support during the research development.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidade Federal de Viçosa, UFVViçosaBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Federal do Espírito Santo, IFESColatinaBrazil
  3. 3.Universidade Federal de Pelotas, UFPelPelotasBrazil

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