Reconnecting Stochastic Methods With Hydrogeological Applications: A Utilitarian Uncertainty Analysis and Risk Assessment Approach for the Design of Optimal Monitoring Networks

Felix Bode, Ty Ferré, Niklas Zigelli, Martin Emmert, Wolfgang Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Collaboration between academics and practitioners promotes knowledge transfer between research and industry, with both sides benefiting greatly. However, academic approaches are often not feasible given real-world limits on time, cost and data availability, especially for risk and uncertainty analyses. Although the need for uncertainty quantification and risk assessment are clear, there are few published studies examining how scientific methods can be used in practice. In this work, we introduce possible strategies for transferring and communicating academic approaches to real-world applications, countering the current disconnect between increasingly sophisticated academic methods and methods that work and are accepted in practice. We analyze a collaboration between academics and water suppliers in Germany who wanted to design optimal groundwater monitoring networks for drinking-water well catchments. Our key conclusions are: to prefer multiobjective over single-objective optimization; to replace Monte-Carlo analyses by scenario methods; and to replace data-hungry quantitative risk assessment by easy-to-communicate qualitative methods. For improved communication, it is critical to set up common glossaries of terms to avoid misunderstandings, use striking visualization to communicate key concepts, and jointly and continually revisit the project objectives. Ultimately, these approaches and recommendations are simple and utilitarian enough to be transferred directly to other practical water resource related problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2270-2287
Number of pages18
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Optimal groundwater monitoring
  • communication strategies
  • multiobjective optimization
  • reconnecting science and practice
  • risk assessment
  • uncertainty analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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