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Environ Monit Assess. 2013 Apr;185(4):3445-65. doi: 10.1007/s10661-012-2802-y. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Assessment of groundwater quality: a fusion of geochemical and geophysical information via Bayesian neural networks.

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  • 1Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, DST, Navi Mumbai 410218, India.


Deplorable quality of groundwater arising from saltwater intrusion, natural leaching and anthropogenic activities is one of the major concerns for the society. Assessment of groundwater quality is, therefore, a primary objective of scientific research. Here, we propose an artificial neural network-based method set in a Bayesian neural network (BNN) framework and employ it to assess groundwater quality. The approach is based on analyzing 36 water samples and inverting up to 85 Schlumberger vertical electrical sounding data. We constructed a priori model by suitably parameterizing geochemical and geophysical data collected from the western part of India. The posterior model (post-inversion) was estimated using the BNN learning procedure and global hybrid Monte Carlo/Markov Chain Monte Carlo optimization scheme. By suitable parameterization of geochemical and geophysical parameters, we simulated 1,500 training samples, out of which 50 % samples were used for training and remaining 50 % were used for validation and testing. We show that the trained model is able to classify validation and test samples with 85 % and 80 % accuracy respectively. Based on cross-correlation analysis and Gibb's diagram of geochemical attributes, the groundwater qualities of the study area were classified into following three categories: "Very good", "Good", and "Unsuitable". The BNN model-based results suggest that groundwater quality falls mostly in the range of "Good" to "Very good" except for some places near the Arabian Sea. The new modeling results powered by uncertainty and statistical analyses would provide useful constrain, which could be utilized in monitoring and assessment of the groundwater quality.

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