Developing a Multi-Objective Conflict-Resolution Model for Optimal Groundwater Management Based on Fallback Bargaining Models and Social Choice Rules: a Case Study

Mohammad Reza Alizadeh, Mohammad Reza Nikoo*, Gholam Reza Rakhshandehroo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Conflict-resolution models can be used as practical approaches to consider the contradictions and trade-offs between the involved stakeholders in integrated water resource management. These models are utilized to reach an optimal solution considering agents interactions. In this paper, a new methodology is developed based on multi-objective optimization model (NSGA-II), groundwater simulation model, M5P model tree, fallback bargaining procedures and social choice rules to determine the optimal groundwater management policies with an emphasis on resolving conflicts between stakeholders. By incorporating the multi-objective simulation-optimization model and bargaining methods, the optimal groundwater allocation policies are determined and the preferences of the stakeholders as well as social criteria such as justice are also considered. The obtained data set, based on Monte Carlo analysis of calibrated MODFLOW model, is used for training and validating the M5P meta-models. The validated M5P meta-models are linked with NSGA-II to determine the trade-off curve (Pareto front) for the objectives. Social choice rule and fallback bargaining methods, as conflict-resolution models, are applied to determine the best socio-optimal solution among stakeholders, and their results are compared. The effectiveness of the proposed methodology is verified in a case study of Darian aquifer, Fars province, Iran. Results indicated that the solutions obtained by the proposed conflict-resolution approaches have an appropriate applicability. Total groundwater withdrawal, after applying the optimal groundwater allocations, reduced to 20.85 MCM, resulting in a 4.62 m increase in the mean groundwater level throughout the aquifer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1457-1472
Number of pages16
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Conflict-resolution
  • M5P meta-models
  • NSGA-II optimization model
  • Optimal groundwater management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology

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