Skip to main content
Log in

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

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Aims and scope Submit manuscript


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7


Download references


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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Micael de Souza Fraga.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

de Souza Fraga, M., da Silva, D.D., Alden Elesbon, A.A. et al. Methodological proposal for the allocation of water quality monitoring stations using strategic decision analysis. Environ Monit Assess 191, 776 (2019).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: