Articles | Volume 17, issue 8
Research article
09 Aug 2017
Research article |  | 09 Aug 2017

A novel method of sensitivity analysis testing by applying the DRASTIC and fuzzy optimization methods to assess groundwater vulnerability to pollution: the case of the Senegal River basin in Mali

Keita Souleymane and Tang Zhonghua

Abstract. Vulnerability to groundwater pollution in the Senegal River basin was studied by two different but complementary methods: the DRASTIC method (which evaluates the intrinsic vulnerability) and the fuzzy method (which assesses the specific vulnerability by taking into account the continuity of the parameters). The validation of this application has been tested by comparing the connection in groundwater and distribution of different established classes of vulnerabilities as well as the nitrate distribution in the study area. Three vulnerability classes (low, medium and high) have been identified by both the DRASTIC method and the fuzzy method (between which the normalized model was used). An integrated analysis reveals that high classes with 14.64 % (for the DRASTIC method), 21.68 % (for the normalized DRASTIC method) and 18.92 % (for the fuzzy method) are not the most dominant. In addition, a new method for sensitivity analysis was used to identify (and confirm) the main parameters which impact the vulnerability to pollution with fuzzy membership. The results showed that the vadose zone is the main parameter which impacts groundwater vulnerability to pollution while net recharge contributes least to pollution in the study area. It was also found that the fuzzy method better assesses the vulnerability to pollution with a coincidence rate of 81.13 % versus that of 77.35 % for the DRASTIC method. These results serve as a guide for policymakers to identify areas sensitive to pollution before such sites are used for socioeconomic infrastructures.

Final-revised paper