This paper presents some simulation–optimization models for groundwater resources management. These models couple two of the most successful global optimization techniques inspired by swarm intelligence, namely particle swarm optimization (PSO) and ant colony optimization (ACO), with one of the most commonly used groundwater flow simulation code, MODFLOW. The coupled simulation–optimization models are formulated and applied to three different groundwater management problems: (i) maximization of total pumping problem, (ii) minimization of total pumping to contain contaminated water within a capture zone and (iii) minimization of the pumping cost to satisfy the given demand for multiple management periods. The results of PSO- and ACO-based models are compared with those produced by other methods previously presented in the literature for the three case studies considered. It is found that PSO and ACO are promising methods for solving groundwater management problems, as is their ability to find optimal or near-optimal solutions.
Keywords: global optimization technique, groundwater resources management, MODFLOW, simulation, simulation–optimization model, swarm intelligence