In the Pingtung Plain of southern Taiwan, elevated levels of NO3−
-N in groundwater have been reported. Therefore, efforts for assessing groundwater vulnerability are required as part of the critical steps to prevent and control groundwater pollution. This study makes a groundwater vulnerability assessment for the Pingtung Plain using an improved overlay and index-based DRASTIC model. The improvement of the DRASTIC model is achieved by reassigning the weighting coefficients of the factors in this model with the help of a discriminant analysis statistical method. The analytical results obtained from the improved DRASTIC model provide a reliable prediction for use in groundwater vulnerability assessment to nitrate pollution and can correctly identify the groundwater protection zones in the Pingtung Plain. Moreover, the results of the sensitivity analysis conducted for the seven parameters in the improved DRASTIC model demonstrate that the aquifer media (A) is the most sensitive factor when the nitrate-N concentration is below 2.5 mg/L. For the cases where the nitrate-N concentration is above 2.5 mg/L, the aquifer media (A) and net recharge (R) are the two most important factors.
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