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Development of an efficient surrogate model based on aquifer dimensions to prevent seawater intrusion in anisotropic coastal aquifers, case study: the Qom aquifer in Iran

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Abstract

Coastal aquifers are usually exposed to saltwater intrusion. Therefore, groundwater extracted from these aquifers should be regulated considering their dimensions and effective parameters. In this paper, optimum discharge from a large number of exploitation wells is evaluated according to variations of width, length, and anisotropy coefficient in the Qom aquifer near the salt lake in central Iran. First, the wells are divided into clusters to decrease the number of decision variables. Then, the location and discharge from each cluster is obtained using SEAWAT and charged system search (CSS) simulation–optimization model with the assumption of three-dimensional variable density flow. The maximum discharge considering various anisotropy rates is computed based on different values of lengths and widths of the aquifer. Finally, an M5-tree model is trained using the obtained samples to derive a linear relationship between input and output data. Based on the results, for various ranges of width and length of an aquifer with impermeable boundaries, different linear equations for optimum discharge are obtained. Also, it was found that for an aquifer with a small width, the critical discharge is a function of the length while the effect of the boundaries is negligible. Sensitivity analysis of the anisotropy coefficient reveals that with increasing the anisotropy rate, thickness and slope of the transition zone decrease and as the maximum discharge increases consequently. However, the sensitivity of the discharge to anisotropy rate is not remarkable. A comparison between the results of this study with those of the analytical method based on sharp interface assumption is carried out. For the critical condition, the best agreement between analytical equation (\(\overline {L} =0.87\overline {W} +0.62\)) and proposed method (\(\overline {L} =0.83\overline {W} - 1.41\)) is achieved for the anisotropic aquifer when the 50% isochlor is assumed as the measure of salt water intrusion.

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Acknowledgements

This paper is based on the results of a PhD dissertation of the first author which was supervised by the second author at the K.N. Toosi University of Technology.

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Correspondence to Najmeh Mahjouri.

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Ranjbar, A., Mahjouri, N. Development of an efficient surrogate model based on aquifer dimensions to prevent seawater intrusion in anisotropic coastal aquifers, case study: the Qom aquifer in Iran. Environ Earth Sci 77, 418 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-018-7592-2

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