Assessment of groundwater vulnerability mapping methods for sustainable water resource management: An overview

Simeneh Shiferaw Moges, Megersa Olumana Dinka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Groundwater is a vital resource for domestic, agricultural, and industrial activities, as well as for ecosystem services. Despite this, the resource is under significant threat, due to increasing contamination from anthropogenic activities. Therefore, to ensure its reliability for present and future use, effective management of groundwater is important not only in terms of quantity (i.e. abstraction) but also quality. This can be achieved by identifying areas that are more vulnerable to contamination and by implementing protective measures. To identify the risk and delineate areas that are more exposed to pollution, various groundwater vulnerability assessment techniques have been developed across the globe. This paper presents an overview of some of the commonly used groundwater vulnerability assessment models in terms of their unique features and their application. Special emphasis is placed on statistical methods and overlay-index techniques. The assessment of the literature shows that statistical methods are limited in application to the assessment of groundwater vulnerability to pollution because they rely heavily on the availability of sufficient and quality data. However, in areas where extensive monitoring data are available, these methods estimate groundwater vulnerability more realistically in quantitative terms. Many works of research indicate that index-overlay methods are used extensively and frequently in groundwater vulnerability assessments. Due to the qualitative nature of these models, however, they are still subject to modification. This study offers an overview of a selection of relevant groundwater vulnerability assessment techniques under a specific set of hydro-climatic and hydrogeological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-198
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Water and Land Development
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • aquifer vulnerability
  • groundwater
  • intrinsic vulnerability
  • specific vulnerability
  • vulnerability assessment methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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