Environmental Earth Sciences

, 77:780 | Cite as

Risk characterization and surface water quality assessment of Manas River, Assam (India) with an emphasis on the TOPSIS method of multi-objective decision making

  • Kunwar Raghvendra SinghEmail author
  • Rahul Dutta
  • Ajay S. Kalamdhad
  • Bimlesh Kumar
Original Article


The present study centers on the investigation of surface water quality with the aid of quality indices and explores the application of a multi-objective decision-making method (TOPSIS) in arranging decisions for policy makers on the basis of overall ranking of the sampling locations. A case study has been performed on the Manas River, Assam (India). Water Quality Index (WQI) involving physico-chemical parameters, and heavy metal pollution index (HPI) and contamination index (CI) involving heavy metal influences were employed for water quality assessment. WQI graded two sampling locations “very poor” and all other locations “poor”. HPIs of all the locations were below the critical value of 100, but the CI depicted that two locations were “moderately contaminated”. Risk assessment to human health was done using hazard quotient and hazard index. Cluster analysis (CA) demonstrated site similarity by grouping the relatively more polluted and less polluted (LP) sites into two major clusters. However, there surfaced difficulty in discerning the overall water quality, as all the three quality indices included different parameters and contradicted each other. A multi-objective decision-making tool, TOPSIS was therefore employed for ranking the locations on the basis of their relative pollution levels. The novelty of the study reflects in the identification of the relatively more or relatively less polluted sites within the same cluster in CA by the application of TOPSIS. The study justifies the effectiveness of TOPSIS method in prioritizing decisions in complex scenarios for policy makers.


Water quality Manas River TOPSIS WQI HPI CI Risk assessment Cluster analysis 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia

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