Abstract

Decision-making is a significant tool in water resources management applications. This work addresses the global management decision dilemma for the sustainability of the groundwater resources of a watershed: should stakeholders use groundwater for irrigation and human consumption or should they construct infrastructure, for example water reservoirs, for irrigation purposes? The former constitutes an easy but non-sustainable solution, while the latter protects the groundwater body from overpumping, avoids the associated overpumping penalties, and utilizes both surface and groundwater watershed resources. The main question arising in the second case relates to the amount of surface water that can be used taking into consideration water scarcity and potentially dry hydrological years. Therefore, this proposed decision-making framework will provide the best management solution for the water needs of an area based on the balanced use of surface and groundwater resources, considering the ecosystem sustainability and the surface and groundwater sustainability. In addition, this work can help decision-makers to examine and compare various scenarios using different approaches before making a decision regarding the cost and the capacity of a hydrologic/hydraulic project, and the varied economic charges that water table limit violations can cause inside an audit interval.

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