In order to rationalize a surface water quality monitoring network (WQMN), it is critical to appropriately design surface water quality sampling locations. This is due to high installation, operational, and maintenance costs for each sampling representative of the whole water system conditions. The main objective of this study was to propose an integrated method to determine the most appropriate sampling points in the Khoy watershed northwest of Iran, where financial resources and water quality data are limited. Multi criteria evaluation method including analytic network process (ANP) and Fuzzy logic were incorporated in River Mixing Length (RML) procedure in order to identify exact locations of sampling points. Based on RML procedure, 15 candidate sampling points were identified to suitably select sampling points based on budget deficiency. Relative weights for 12 criteria and 10 sub-criteria related to non-point sources and surficial rocks as well as criteria of topography were then calculated by the ANP method. According to the obtained results, a new total potential pollution score (TPPS) was presented to prioritize 15 candidate sampling points. Then, the values of TPPS were classified and fuzzified to distinguish real differences between scores. Based on current monitoring stations and budget deficiency, the hierarchy value, and Fuzzy rank, six points are proposed as the most appropriate locations for surface water quality monitoring. Furthermore, four points are identified as the second most appropriate for enhancing a robust WQMN in the study area in order for an expansion plan in the future. The results of this study should be valuable for water quality monitoring agencies looking for a cost-effective approach for selecting exact sampling locations.
- Fuzzy logic
- Mixing length procedure
- Siting sampling locations
- Water quality monitoring network