Risk Assessment of Groundwater and its Application. Part I: Risk Grading Based on the Functional Zoning of Groundwater


The functional zoning of groundwater is the basis for the rational development and utilization, scientific management and effective protection of groundwater. Based on the distribution, type, hydrogeological condition and exploitation status of groundwater in Tianjin, and considering the resource supply, ecological environment maintenance and geological environment stability simultaneously, the function zoning of shallow groundwater has been divided into the non-central water supply area in built-up zones, the fragile marsh zones, the fragile nature reserve zones, the polluted groundwater zones and the salt water zones. And the deep groundwater has been divided into the non-central water supply area in built-up zones, the central supply area in built-up zones, the land subsidence zones, polluted groundwater zones and the salt water descending zones. Firstly, this paper selected dominant factors of groundwater development and utilization risk based on the different groundwater function zoning results, distinguished them into natural factors and human factors, and developed the risk assessment index systems. Secondly, the risk assessment systems for shallow and deep groundwater were built according to the characteristics of respective aquifers, and the weight of each evaluation index was calculated by AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) method. Then, each of the unit risk grade was determined by the method of fuzzy synthetic evaluation on basis of these index attributes and the corresponding weights, and results were distributed in space using ArcGIS to obtain the groundwater risk grade map of various aquifers in different groundwater function zones of Tianjin city. Finally, the risk grade in each district of Tianjin was determined by superimposing the district boundaries on these maps. Groundwater development and utilization risk grades based on the functional zoning of groundwater can provide a scientific basis for management of groundwater and a method for determining groundwater level.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Dong DL, Sun WJ, Zhu ZC, Xi S, Lin G (2013) Groundwater risk assessment of the third aquifer in Tianjin city, China. Water Resour Manag 27:3179–3190. doi:10.1007/s11269-013-0342-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Han JL, Liu CL, Li LJ, Jin CH (2011) Groundwater development risk analysis based on catastrophe evaluation method. China Rural Water Hydropower 12:11–14 (in chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  3. Hu QK, Li FW, Feng P (2013) Type-character based groundwater functional zoning in Tianjin. Water Resour Hydropower Eng 44(9):4–7 (in chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  4. Li FW, Feng P, Zhang W, Zhang T (2013a) An integrated groundwater management mode based on control indexes of groundwater quantity and level. Water Resour Manag 27:3273–3292. doi:10.1007/s11269-013-0346-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Li FW, Peng HB, Li MM (2013b) Study on the function assessment and zoning division of the groundwater in Tianjin municipality. J Saf Environ 13(3):111–115 (in chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Liu XC, Li LW, Shi WX (2010) Elementary analysis on AHP fuzzy evaluation on groundwater safety in Ninghe county of Tianjin. Groundwater 04:13–17 (in chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Milnes E (2011) Process-based groundwater salinisation risk assessment methodology: application to the Akrotiri aquifer (Southern Cyprus). J Hydrol 39(1–2):29–47. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.12.032

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Moreaux M, Reynaud A (2006) Urban freshwater needs and spatial cost externalities for coastal aquifers: a theoretical approach. Reg Sci Urban Econ 36(2):163–186. doi:10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2005.09.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Nei ZL, Chen J, Wang JZ, Yan MJ, Tian YL (2011) Groundwater role in regional economic and social development in the Beijing-Tianjian-Tangshan area. J Arid Land Resour Environ 25(10):75–79 (in chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  10. Qureshi AS, McCornick PG, Sarwar A, Sharma BR (2010) Challenges and prospects of sustainable groundwater management in the Indus Basin, Pakistan. Water Resour Manag 24:1551–1569. doi:10.1007/s11269-009-9513-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Shao JL, Cui YL, Wang LC (2010) Deep groundwater mining situation and research on the numerical simulation and prediction of groundwater in Tianjin. China University of Geosciences, Beijing (in chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Sheng HY, Meng QL, Zhu DH, Li ET (2006) Environmental problems of underground water resources development use and prevention and control. Res Soil Water Conserv 13(1):51–53 (in chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Su XS, Wang H, Zhang YL (2013) Health risk assessment of nitrate contamination in groundwater: a case study of an agricultural area in Northeast China. Water Resour Manag 27:3025–3034. doi:10.1007/s11269-013-0330-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Tianjin Municipal Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (TMBGMR) (2004) Tianjin atlas of geological environment. Geological Publishing House, Beijing (in chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  15. Wang JJ, He JT, Chen HH (2012) Assessment of groundwater contamination risk using hazard quantification, a modified DRASTIC model and groundwater value, Beijing Plain, China. Sci Total Environ 432:216–226. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.06.005

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Yang AL, Huang GH, Qin XS (2010) An integrated simulation-assessment approach for evaluating health risks of groundwater contamination under multiple uncertainties. Water Resour Manag 24:3349–3369. doi:10.1007/s11269-010-9610-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support for this work provided by the Open Research Fund of State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin (China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research) (Grant no.IWHR-SKL-201312), the Science Fund for Creative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no.51321065), Ministry of Water Resources Special Funds for Scientific Research on Public Causes (201401041) and Tianjin Research Program of Application Foundation and Advanced Technology (Grant no. 12JCQNJC05200).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared that they have no financial conflicts of interest to this work.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fawen Li.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Li, F., Zhao, Y., Feng, P. et al. Risk Assessment of Groundwater and its Application. Part I: Risk Grading Based on the Functional Zoning of Groundwater. Water Resour Manage 29, 2697–2714 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-015-0964-4

Download citation


  • Groundwater functional zoning
  • Risk assessment
  • AHP
  • ArcGIS
  • Tianjin city