East Water and Environmental Research Institute
Recent publications
A practical approach for understanding and monitoring the sustainability of a river basin as a complex socio-hydrological system is to co-develop an indicator-based assessment framework with the help of the major stakeholders. This study defines the concept of Sustainability Assessment (SA) in the context of water management at basin level. A step-by-step methodology is proposed and further applied for developing indicator-based SA framework in the complex and overexploited Mashhad Basin in Iran. The methodology is based on a participatory approach that includes forming an expert panel of basin stakeholders, co-creating goals and objectives, identifying and screening indicators, and shaping the final SA framework. We identify 332 potential indicators from existing literature. Using selection criteria and two-round of fuzzy Delphi method, we adapt 25 fit-for-purpose indicators relevant to sustainable water management in Mashhad Basin. Subsequently, a SA framework is developed by categorizing final indicators into four main components (Technical, Environmental, Economic and Social) and ten subcomponents to provide better links and insights of the basin water management practices between different groups of stakeholders. Finally, using a weighting scheme through the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), a sustainability index is constructed by aggregating the indicators. The results indicate that Mashhad Basin is in a critical unsustainable condition with a sustainability index at 0.34 out of 1. Analysis of the relative importance of the adapted indicators shows that the top-four ranked indicators (including water productivity, access to safe drinking water, renewable groundwater dependency and water pollution) have almost 40% contribution to the basin sustainability index. Such indicator-based SA framework can support identification and analysis of major sustainability trade-offs. Additionally, it can provide an effective tool for achieving water-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We therefore highly encourage further development of indicator-based SA frameworks in the context of water management at basin level.
As the groundwater quantitative monitoring aimed to determine the factors affecting the aquifer behavior plays an important role in its regional management, studying the temporal and spatial groundwater level variations requires a comprehensive monitoring network. Effort has been made in this study to introduce a new linked simulation–optimization method, named MLPG-TLBO to quantitatively monitor the Birjand aquifer and determine the optimal points for piezometers. This model uses meshless local Petrov Galerkin (MLPF) method in the simulation part and teaching–learning-based optimization (TLBO) method in the optimization part. The objective function, in this study, is to minimize the difference between the groundwater level observed in piezometers and obtained computationally by the model. Since this coupled model is independent from the meshing, it eliminates the mesh-dependent shortcomings and, hence, yields more accurate results. It has been calibrated and validated in previous Birjand area studies and has led to acceptable results. By implementing the model in Birjand aquifer, the optimal positions of ten piezometers were determined mostly in areas where the density of the extraction wells was lower. Finally, the RMSE of both MLPG-TLBO and FDM was obtained to be 0.334 m and 1.483 m for 10 optimal piezometers. The RMSE value for MLPG-TLBO has shown a 0.423 m reduction compared to its previous value. This difference is quite meaningful as it shows good performance of this method in designing an optimal network for the aquifer.
Models provide invaluable visions to decision-makers for basin-scale management of water resources. However, decision-makers have difficulties in directly using these complex models. Water managers are primarily interested in user-friendly features allowing an integration of their judgments into the decision-making process, rather than applying detailed theories and methodologies. This knowledge gap between technical simulation models and policy-makers highlights the urgent need for developing an integrated water resource management decision support system (IWRM-DSS). This paper describes the main aspects of a new IWRM-DSS in which Microsoft Visual Studio under the C# language was employed to integrate the Microsoft SQL server as a database and ArcGIS Engine DLLs for pre/postdata processing for the SWAT and MODFLOW models. Two particular ‘module’ and ‘presentation’ shells are specifically designed for decision-makers to create four different scenarios, namely, ‘climatic’, ‘recharge’, ‘discharge’, and ‘coupled’ and to analyze the results. Decision-makers, without any detailed modeling knowledge and computer skills, can access the data and run models to test different management scenarios in an attractive graphical user interface. The IWRM-DSS, which was applied for the Neishaboor watershed, Iran, reveals that mean annual potential evapotranspiration increased to 8.2%, while runoff and recharge rates are reduced to 35 and 63%, which led to a decline of 13.5 m in mean groundwater level for the 13-year projected period. HIGHLIGHTS Decision-makers have difficulties in directly using complex simulation models.; Decision-makers prefer the integration of their judgments into the decision-making process.; A scenario-based coupled SWAT-MODFLOW Decision Support System was developed.; Decision-makers can test different scenarios without any detailed modeling knowledge.; The DSS was efficient to engage stakeholders in the water resource management process.;
Understanding how human and water systems co-evolve is a vital step towards achieving sustainability. This paper presents a historical socio-hydrological analysis of a semi-arid and overexploited basin in Eastern Iran, which is currently experiencing a serious water crisis. The co-evolutionary history of socio-hydrological system within the basin was divided into three phases of natural, expansion and contraction. During the natural phase (from the Lower Paleolithic era to 650 AD), the basin was in pristine condition. In the expansion phase, including traditional development (650 AD up to 1920) and industrial development (since 1920 till now), major proportion of non-renewable groundwater was employed towards economic gain. Considering banning of groundwater development in the basin in 1966, the contraction phase has gradually begun since then, nevertheless the expansion phase has continued. Furthermore, guided by historical analysis, a perceptual socio-hydrological model was developed to improve understanding of co-evolutionary dynamics of coupled human–water system.
Study region The off-stream artificial Bar lake, built in 2015 to store the flood flows of the Bar river for domestic and industrial needs and with the objective to intentionally recharge the aquifer, is situated in the Razavi Khorasan province (Iran). Study focus We present a methodology, based on the combination of a MODFLOW groundwater flow model for estimating seepage rates, and an optimization model, for the management and operation of an artificial reservoir considering surface/groundwater interactions for satisfying 12 Mm³/year of water demand. We simulated the reliable amount of water that can be supplied from the reservoir, considering reservoir seepage, maximizing water supply yields subject to the water supply reliability requirements, and the additional intentional volume of groundwater recharge. New hydrological insights for the region Our results demonstrate the reliability of conjunctive use of surface-and ground-water in water scarce areas by exploiting reservoir infrastructures with relevant leakage losses, also for creating additional aquifer storage. In such systems, man-induced changes of lake stages can significantly affect the volume of water that seeps through the lakebed. The aquifer, under managed aquifer recharge operations, may then provide the resource not satisfied by the reservoir release, fulfilling 100 % reliability of water supply. The conjunctive use of surface- and ground-water, by improving water security, may open new sustainability views for leaking reservoirs, even if they were not initially designed for increasing aquifer recharge, in many areas worldwide.
This paper is the outcome of a community initiative to identify major unsolved scientific problems in hydrology motivated by a need for stronger harmonisation of research efforts. The procedure involved a public consultation through on-line media, followed by two workshops through which a large number of potential science questions were collated, prioritised, and synthesised. In spite of the diversity of the participants (230 scientists in total), the process revealed much about community priorities and the state of our science: a preference for continuity in research questions rather than radical departures or redirections from past and current work. Questions remain focussed on process-based understanding of hydrological variability and causality at all space and time scales. Increased attention to environmental change drives a new emphasis on understanding how change propagates across interfaces within the hydrological system and across disciplinary boundaries. In particular, the expansion of the human footprint raises a new set of questions related to human interactions with nature and water cycle feedbacks in the context of complex water management problems. We hope that this reflection and synthesis of the 23 unsolved problems in hydrology will help guide research efforts for some years to come.
Increase in irrigated area, driven by demand for more food production, in the semi-arid regions of Asia and Africa is putting pressure on the already strained available water resources. To cope and manage this situation, monitoring spatial and temporal dynamics of the irrigated area land use at basin level is needed to ensure proper allocation of water. Publicly available satellite data at high spatial resolution and advances in remote sensing techniques offer a viable opportunity. In this study, we developed a new approach using time series of Landsat 8 (L8) data and Random Forest (RF) machine learning algorithm by introducing a hierarchical post-processing scheme to extract key Land Use Land Cover (LULC) types. We implemented this approach for Mashhad basin in Iran to develop a LULC map at 15 m spatial resolution with nine classes for the crop year 2015/2016. In addition, five irrigated land use types were extracted for three crop years—2013/2014, 2014/2015, and 2015/2016—using the RF models. The total irrigated area was estimated at 1796.16 km2, 1581.7 km2 and 1578.26 km2 for the cropping years 2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, respectively. The overall accuracy of the final LULC map was 87.2% with a kappa coefficient of 0.85. The methodology was implemented using open data and open source libraries. The ability of the RF models to extract key LULC types at basin level shows the usability of such approaches for operational near real time monitoring.
Groundwater resources have been extensively explored in Wadi Al-Fara coastal catchment, located at the northwest of Oman, to supply agricultural, industrial and domestic demands. Consequently, groundwater level has declined, which calls for urgent mitigation strategies to sustain the groundwater resources. Reasonable knowledge of natural recharge to a groundwater basin is fundamental for its sustainability and management. Thus, recharge was estimated using different methods including chloride mass balance (CMB), water table fluctuation (WTF) and groundwater modeling methods in Wadi Al-Fara catchment. Based on the CMB method, the recharge is respectively estimated at about 45 and 8 mm/year for the highland and coastal zones. According to the WTF method, the recharge is estimated as 10–22 mm/year and 6–14 mm/year in the plain and coastal zones, respectively. Modeling showed that a long-term regional groundwater recharge is about 31 Mm³/year (26 mm/year) for the whole study area, and the long-term lateral flux from the highland to the coastal zone (12 Mm³/year) is a major contributor to water resources in the coastal plain.
Geological mapping and mineral exploration programs in the High Arctic have been naturally hindered by its remoteness and hostile climate conditions. The Franklinian Basin in North Greenland has a unique potential for exploration of world-class zinc deposits. In this research, multi-sensor remote sensing satellite data (e.g., Landsat-8, Phased Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)) were used for exploring zinc in the trough sequences and shelf-platform carbonate of the Franklinian Basin. A series of robust image processing algorithms was implemented for detecting spatial distribution of pixels/sub-pixels related to key alteration mineral assemblages and structural features that may represent potential undiscovered Zn–Pb deposits. Fusion of Directed Principal Component Analysis (DPCA) and Independent Component Analysis (ICA) was applied to some selected Landsat-8 mineral indices for mapping gossan, clay-rich zones and dolomitization. Major lineaments, intersections, curvilinear structures and sedimentary formations were traced by the application of Feature-oriented Principal Components Selection (FPCS) to cross-polarized backscatter PALSAR ratio images. Mixture Tuned Matched Filtering (MTMF) algorithm was applied to ASTER VNIR/SWIR bands for sub-pixel detection and classification of hematite, goethite, jarosite, alunite, gypsum, chalcedony, kaolinite, muscovite, chlorite, epidote, calcite and dolomite in the prospective targets. Using the remote sensing data and approaches, several high potential zones characterized by distinct alteration mineral assemblages and structural fabrics were identified that could represent undiscovered Zn–Pb sulfide deposits in the study area. This research establishes a straightforward/cost-effective multi-sensor satellite-based remote sensing approach for reconnaissance stages of mineral exploration in hardly accessible parts of the High Arctic environments. View Full-Text
An attempt has been made to estimate evaporation from a water body by developing a new approach based on the energy balance model. For this purpose, a new energy balance method for two surfaces was established: water (evaporating surface) and dry bare soil (non-evaporating surface as reference). An identical aerodynamic resistance ratio was assumed for both surfaces due to their similar conditions. With this assumption, a new form of energy balance was obtained which only depends on net radiation and temperature. The derived reference and water surface energy balance (RWEB) method was applied to estimate evaporation from Doosti dam reservoir in Iran. In order to evaluate the performance of the RWEB, comparison was performed with Bowen ratio energy balance (BREB) method as well as some conventional methods. According to the evaluations, the evaporation results of RWEB from 2011 to 2012 were satisfactory with RMSD value of 1.026 mm month¹ and R² ¼ 0.937. Furthermore, the RWEB sensitivity analysis showed the highest sensitivity to air temperature and the lower sensitivity to net radiation. Thus, evaporation from a water body can be estimated accurately by precise measurements of air temperature and relatively reasonable estimations of other parameters (reference, water temperature and net radiation).
The optimization of spatially complex groundwater management models over long time horizons requires the use of computationally efficient groundwater flow models. This paper presents a new stochastic multi-cell lumped-parameter aquifer model that explicitly considers uncertainty in groundwater recharge. To achieve this, the multi-cell model is combined with the constrained-state formulation method. In this method, the lower and upper bounds of groundwater heads are incorporated into the mass balance equation using indicator functions. This provides expressions for the means, variances and covariances of the groundwater heads, which can be included in the constraint set in an optimization model. This method was used to formulate two separate stochastic models: (i) groundwater flow in a two-cell aquifer model with normal and non-normal distributions of groundwater recharge; and (ii) groundwater management in a multiple cell aquifer in which the differences between groundwater abstractions and water demands are minimized. The comparison between the results obtained from the proposed modeling technique with those from Monte Carlo simulation demonstrates the capability of the proposed models to approximate the means, variances and covariances. Significantly, considering covariances between the heads of adjacent cells allows a more accurate estimate of the variances of the groundwater heads. Moreover, this modeling technique requires no discretization of state variables, thus offering an efficient alternative to computationally demanding methods.
This paper proposes an approach to estimate groundwater recharge using an optimization-based water-table fluctuation method combined with a groundwater balance model in an arid hardrock-alluvium region, located at the Oman-United Arab Emirates (UAE) border. We introduce an “effective hardrock thickness” term to identify the percentage of the considered hardrock thickness in which effective groundwater flow takes place. The proposed method is based upon a Thiessen polygon zoning approach. The method includes sub-polygons to represent specific geologic units and to enhance the confidence of the estimated groundwater recharge. Two linear and one nonlinear sub-models were developed to evaluate the model components for the calibration (Oct. 1996 to Sep. 2008) and validation (Oct. 2008 to Sep. 2013) periods. Long-term annual groundwater recharge from rainfall and return flow over the model domain are estimated as 24.62 and 5.71 Mm3, respectively, while the effective groundwater flow circulation is found to occur in the upper 7% of the known hardrock thickness (42 m), confirming conclusions of previous field studies. Considering a total difference in groundwater levels between eastern and western points of the study area of the order of 220 m and a 12-year monthly calibration period, a weighted root mean squared error in predicted groundwater elevation of 2.75 m is considered quite reasonable for the study area characterized by remarkable geological and hydrogeological diversity. The proposed approach provides an efficient and robust method to estimate groundwater recharge in regions with a complex geological setting in which interaction between fractured and porous media cannot be easily assessed.
This study aims at modeling groundwater flow using MODFLOW in a transboundary hardrock-alluvium aquifer, located in northwestern Oman. A three-dimensional stratigraphic model of the study area representing the vertical and spatial extent of four principal hydro-geologic units (specifically, the Hawasina, ophiolite, Tertiary and alluvium) was generated using data collected from hundreds drilled borehole logs. Layer elevations and materials for four layers grid cells were taken from the generated stratigraphic model in which the materials and elevations were inherited from the stratigraphic model that encompasses the cell. This process led to accurate grid so that the developed groundwater conceptual model was mapped to simulate the groundwater flow and to estimate groundwater balance components and sustainable groundwater extraction for the Oct. 1996 to Sep. 2013 period. Results show that the long-term lateral groundwater flux ranging from 4.23 to 11.69 Mm3/year, with an average of 5.67 Mm3/year, drains from the fractured eastern ophiolite mountains into the alluvial zone. Moreover, the long-term regional groundwater sustainable groundwater extraction is 18.09 Mm3/year for 17-years while, it is respectively estimated as 14.51, 16.31, and 36.00 Mm3/year for dry, normal, and wet climate periods based on standardized precipitation index (SPI) climate condition. Considering a total difference in groundwater levels between eastern and western points of the study area on the order of 228 m and a 12-year monthly calibration period (Oct. 1996 to Sep. 2008), a root mean squared error (RMSE) in predicted groundwater elevation of 2.71 m is considered reasonable for the study area characterized by remarkable geological and hydrogeological diversity. A quantitative assessment of the groundwater balance components and particularly sustainable groundwater extraction for the different hydrological period would help decision makers to better understand the water resources in the Al-Buraimi region. Also, it would assist decision makers to improve existing strategies to enhance the decision making for future developments.
In a paper published in this journal, Mahootchi et al. (Mahootchi et al., 2010) presented a stochastic optimization modeling technique to solve multireservoir optimization problems. The authors provide expressions for estimating the means and variances of the storage state variable. In this comment we show that the derived expression for estimating the second moments of the storage variable contains a serious mistake which affects the results of the paper. As a consequence, the variances obtained from the proposed model are not reasonably matched to the corresponding values obtained through a Monte Carlo simulation.
The article gives the results of studies of the concentrations and distribution of elements Cu, Zn, Ni, Cd, Co, V, Cr, Ca, and Mg in total dissolved form and organic complexes of humic nature in water of the Amur and its major tributaries (the Zeya, the Ussuri, etc.). The distribution of metals in Amur water over the river’s cross-section was found to be nonuniform because of the effect of tributaries. The humic acids of river waters in the Amur region largely bind dissolved metals, a process especially typical of rivers in the taiga zone, i.e., the Zeya and Bureya and their tributaries. The amount of chelate complexes was found to be minimal in the water discharged by the Sungari. By the descending amount of metal–HFA complexes, the rivers in the Amur region can be arranged in the following order: Zeya basin rivers = Bureya basin rivers > the Amur, upstream of the Sungari mouth > the Amur, lower reaches > the Ussuri, lower reaches > the Amur, downstream of the Sungari mouth.
The long-term dynamics of the runoff of mineral oxidized forms of nitrogen in the Amur River near Khabarovsk City is discussed. An increase in nitrate nitrogen runoff by a factor of 2.1 is recorded as compared to the period of 1981–2000. It is shown that the Sungari River is now responsible for the formation of the anthropogenic component of the runoff of mineral nitrogen forms.
A relatively wide range of trace elements are known to play important roles in biological processes, including the oxidative processes. Oxidative processes are one of the mechanisms involved in both incidence and recurrence of bladder cancer. In the present study, the concentration of iron (Fe), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) were determined in the serum of patients with bladder cancer in comparison to healthy subjects. This cross-sectional study was conducted on 51 patients with bladder cancer and 58 healthy volunteers after age, sex, and smoking habits were matched. After overnight fasting, samples were collected. The concentrations of Fe, Cu, and Zn were measured by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy and comparisons were made using Student's t-test. There was a significant increase in mean Cu and Cu/Zn serum level in bladder cancer patients compared to the control group (P < 0.001). In contrast, the serum zinc level in patients having bladder cancer was significantly lower than in the control group (P < 0.05). Moreover, the serum iron level was significantly lower in the patients than the control group (P < 0.001). In the present study, a relationship was seen between the level of trace elements and the occurrence of bladder cancer, suggesting that an increase in the serum level of Cu and a decrease in the levels of Zn and Fe might be important causes of bladder cancer occurrence; however, defining such a cause-and-effect relationship needs several prospective studies to be done, which seems necessary with regard to the high prevalence of this cancer.
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4 members
Mojtaba Shafiei
  • Hydroinformatics
Maysam Majidi
  • Remote Sensing and Environmental Sciences
Iman Ayoobi
  • Remote Sensing and Environmental Sciences
Shiva Sarabi
  • Hydroinformatics
Razavi Khorasan, Iran
Head of institution
Maysam Majidi