Evolutionary algorithms for the optimal management of coastal groundwater: A comparative study toward future challenges

Hamed Ketabchi, Behzad Ataie-Ashtiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


This paper surveys the literature associated with the application of evolutionary algorithms (EAs) in coastal groundwater management problems (CGMPs). This review demonstrates that previous studies were mostly relied on the application of limited and particular EAs, mainly genetic algorithm (GA) and its variants, to a number of specific problems. The exclusive investigation of these problems is often not the representation of the variety of feasible processes may be occurred in coastal aquifers. In this study, eight EAs are evaluated for CGMPs. The considered EAs are: GA, continuous ant colony optimization (CACO), particle swarm optimization (PSO), differential evolution (DE), artificial bee colony optimization (ABC), harmony search (HS), shuffled complex evolution (SCE), and simplex simulated annealing (SIMPSA).The first application of PSO, ABC, HS, and SCE in CGMPs is reported here. Moreover, the four benchmark problems with different degree of difficulty and variety are considered to address the important issues of groundwater resources in coastal regions. Hence, the wide ranges of popular objective functions and constraints with the number of decision variables ranging from 4 to 15 are included. These benchmark problems are applied in the combined simulation-optimization model to examine the optimization scenarios. Some preliminary experiments are performed to select the most efficient parameters values for EAs to set a fair comparison. The specific capabilities of each EA toward CGMPs in terms of results quality and required computational time are compared. The evaluation of the results highlights EA's applicability in CGMPs, besides the remarkable strengths and weaknesses of them. The comparisons show that SCE, CACO, and PSO yield superior solutions among the EAs according to the quality of solutions whereas ABC presents the poor performance. CACO provides the better solutions (up to 17%) than the worst EA (ABC) for the problem with the highest decision variables and more complexity. In terms of computational time, PSO and SIMPSA are the fastest. SCE needs the highest computational time, even up to four times in comparison to the fastest EAs. CACO and PSO can be recommended for application in CGMPs, in terms of both abovementioned criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-213
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Coastal aquifer
  • Combined simulation-optimization
  • Evolutionary algorithms
  • Groundwater management
  • Optimization


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