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Simulation and Multi-Objective Management of Coastal Aquifers in Semi-Arid Regions

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Groundwater is the main water resource in many semi-arid coastal regions and water demand, especially in summer months, can be very high. Groundwater withdrawal for meeting this demand often causes seawater intrusion and degradation of water quality of coastal aquifers. In order to satisfy demand, a combined management plan is proposed and is under consideration for the island of Santorini. The plan involves: (1) desalinization (if needed) of pumped water to a potable level using reverse osmosis and (2) injection into the aquifer of biologically-treated waste water. The management plan is formulated in a multi-objective, optimization framework, where simultaneous minimization of economic and environmental costs is desired, subject to a constraint so that cleaned water satisfies demand. The decision variables concern the well locations and the corresponding pumping and recharging rates. The problem is solved using a computationally efficient, multi-objective, genetic algorithm (NSGAII). The constrained multi-objective, optimization problem is transformed to an unconstrained one using a penalty function proportional to constraint violation. This extends the definition of the objective function outside the domain of feasibility. The impact of prolonged droughts on coastal aquifers is investigated by assuming various scenarios of reduced groundwater recharge. Water flow and quality in the coastal aquifer is simulated using a three-dimensional, variable density, finite difference model (SEAWAT). The method is initially applied to a test aquifer and the trade-off curves (Pareto fronts) are determinedl for each drought scenario. The trade-off curves indicate an increase on the economic and environmental cost as groundwater recharge reduces due to climate change.

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Correspondence to Aristotelis Mantoglou.

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Kourakos, G., Mantoglou, A. Simulation and Multi-Objective Management of Coastal Aquifers in Semi-Arid Regions. Water Resour Manage 25, 1063–1074 (2011).

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