STakeholder-Objective Risk Model (STORM): Determiningthe aggregated risk of multiple contaminant hazards in groundwater well catchments

R. Enzenhoefer, Philip John Binning, W. Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Risk is often defined as the product of probability, vulnerability and value. Drinking water supply from groundwater abstraction is often at risk due to multiple hazardous land use activities in the well catchment. Each hazard might or might not introduce contaminants into the subsurface at any point in time, which then affects the pumped quality upon transport through the aquifer. In such situations, estimating the overall risk is not trivial, and three key questions emerge: (1) How to aggregate the impacts from different contaminants and spill locations to an overall, cumulative impact on the value at risk? (2) How to properly account for the stochastic nature of spill events when converting the aggregated impact to a risk estimate? (3) How will the overall risk and subsequent decision making depend on stakeholder objectives, where stakeholder objectives refer to the values at risk, risk attitudes and risk metrics that can vary between stakeholders. In this study, we provide a STakeholder-Objective Risk Model (STORM) for assessing the total aggregated risk. Or concept is a quantitative, probabilistic and modular framework for simulation-based risk estimation. It rests on the source-pathway-receptor concept, mass-discharge-based aggregation of stochastically occuring spill events, accounts for uncertainties in the involved flow and transport models through Monte Carlo simulation, and can address different stakeholder objectives. We illustrate the application of STORM in a numerical test case inspired by a German drinking water catchment. As one may expect, the results depend strongly on the chosen stakeholder objectives, but they are equally sensitive to different approaches for risk aggregation across different hazards, contaminant types, and over time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Pages (from-to)160-175
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Groundwater
  • Hazard prioritization
  • Regional risk assessment
  • Risk aggregation
  • Mass discharge
  • Failure probability

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