The simulation-optimization approach is used to identify ground-water pumping strategies for control of the shallow water table in the western San Joaquin Valley, California, where shallow ground water threatens continued agricultural productivity. The approach combines the use of ground-water flow simulation with optimization techniques to build on and refine pumping strategies identified in previous research that used flow simulation alone. Use of the combined simulation-optimization model resulted in a 20 percent reduction in the area subject to a shallow water table over that identified by use of the simulation model alone. The simulation-optimization model identifies increasingly more effective pumping strategies for control of the water table as the complexity of the problem increases; that is, as the number of subareas in which pumping is to be managed increases, the simulation-optimization model is better able to discriminate areally among subareas to determine optimal pumping locations. The simulation-optimization approach provides an improved understanding of controls on the ground-water flow system and management alternatives that can be implemented in the valley. In particular, results of the simulation-optimization model indicate that optimal pumping strategies are constrained by the existing distribution of wells between the semiconfined and confined zones of the aquifer, by the distribution of sediment types (and associated hydraulic conductivities) in the western valley, and by the historical distribution of pumping throughout the western valley.
Additional publication details
Pumping strategies for management of a shallow water table: The value of the simulation-optimization approach