Introduction of an empirical classification system for evaluating tunneling impact on the discharge of springs (TIS) in the surrounding areas

Jafar Hassanpour*, Ashkan Lotfipoor, Massoud Morsali

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Water inflow caused by tunneling can have severe impacts on the springs’ discharge rate. If these impacts have not been predicted beforehand, technical, economic, and environmental challenges could occur. While there are a few methods for evaluating the risk of water drawdown, their shortcomings create the need to develop a new one. First, in this research, five main tunneling projects in Iran were studied for evaluating the influence of tunneling on spring’s discharge, and a comprehensive database that contains information on 111 springs located in the vicinity of these tunneling projects was developed. Then, by learning from previously developed methods’ shortcomings and using an appropriate decision analysis method (Analytic Hierarchy Process or AHP), a new model was proposed for evaluating the risk of discharge reduction in springs located in the vicinity of tunneling projects. This new model, named TIS (Tunneling Impacts on Springs), was developed based on four important parameters of a) volume of water inflow toward the tunnel, b) distance between spring and tunnel, c) hydraulic connectivity, and d) aquifer recharge potential. In the next step, using data recorded in the database, TIS values were calculated for each spring, and using suitable statistical methods, the obtained TIS values were classified based on the actual behavior of springs. For using this model in practice, all springs must be checked using a screening process. In this process, according to some limitation criteria (including distance from the tunnel, groundwater condition in tunnel, spring origin), unimportant springs are excluded from the list and only springs with possible influence from tunneling are considered for further assessments. This helps to investigate the in-risk springs more effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5725-5742
Number of pages18
JournalBulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment
Issue number7
Early online date8 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Environmental impacts
  • Spring’s discharge reduction
  • Tunneling Impacts on Springs (TIS)
  • Water inflow in tunnels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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