A fuzzy multicriteria categorization of the GALDIT method to assess seawater intrusion vulnerability of coastal aquifers

Sci Total Environ. 2018 Apr 15;621:524-534. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.235. Epub 2017 Nov 28.


Groundwater constitutes the primary source of fresh water for >1.2 billion people living in coastal zones. However, the threat of seawater intrusion is widespread in coastal aquifers mainly due to overexploitation of groundwater. In the present study, a modified fuzzy multicriteria categorization into non-ordered categories method was developed in order to modify the standard GALDIT method and assess seawater intrusion vulnerability in a coastal aquifer of northern Greece. The method is based on six parameters: groundwater occurrence, aquifer hydraulic conductivity, groundwater level, distance from the shore, impact of the existing status of seawater intrusion, and aquifer thickness. Initially, the original method was applied and revealed a zone of high vulnerability running parallel to the coastline and covering an area of 8.6km2. The modified GALDIT-F method achieved higher discretization of vulnerability zones which is essential to build a rational management plan to prevent seawater intrusion. The GALDIT-F approach also distinguished an area of the aquifer that is influenced by geothermal fluids. In total, twenty-five categories were produced corresponding to different vulnerability degrees according to the initial method (High, Moderate, Low) as well as the area influenced by geothermal fluids. Finally, a road map was developed in order to adapt management strategies to GALDIT-F categories and prevent and mitigate seawater intrusion. The proposed management strategies of the coastal aquifer include managed aquifer recharge (MAR) implementation, reallocation of existing wells, optimization of pumping rates during the hydrological year, and a detailed monitoring plan.

Keywords: Fuzzy logic; Greece; Groundwater; Road map for salinization management; Seawater intrusion vulnerability.