Science Outputs

Optimal design of multi-type groundwater monitoring networks using easily accessible tools

Groundwater, Vol. 54(6), 861–870


Monitoring networks are expensive to establish and to maintain. In this paper, we extend an existing data-worth estimation method from the suite of PEST utilities with a global optimization method for optimal sensor placement (called optimal design) in groundwater monitoring networks. Design optimization can include multiple simultaneous sensor locations and multiple sensor types. Both location and sensor type are treated simultaneously as decision variables. Our method combines linear uncertainty quantification and a modified genetic algorithm for discrete multilocation, multitype search. The efficiency of the global optimization is enhanced by an archive of past samples and parallel computing. We demonstrate our methodology for a groundwater monitoring network at the Steinlach experimental site, south-western Germany, which has been established to monitor river—groundwater exchange processes. The target of optimization is the best possible exploration for minimum variance in predicting the mean travel time of the hyporheic exchange. Our results demonstrate that the information gain of monitoring network designs can be explored efficiently and with easily accessible tools prior to taking new field measurements or installing additional measurement points. The proposed methods proved to be efficient and can be applied for model-based optimal design of any type of monitoring network in approximately linear systems. Our key contributions are (1) the use of easy-to-implement tools for an otherwise complex task and (2) yet to consider data-worth interdependencies in simultaneous optimization of multiple sensor locations and sensor types.