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Research article2009Peer reviewed

Distributional Assumptions in Chance Constrained Programming Models of Stochastic Water Pollution

Kataria Mitesh, Elofsson Katarina, Hasler Berit


In the water management literature both the normal and log-normal distribution are commonly used to model stochastic water pollution. The normality assumption is usually motivated by the central limit theorem, while the log-normality assumption is often motivated by the need to avoid the possibility of negative pollution loads. We utilize the truncated normal distribution as an alternative to these distributions. Using probabilistic constraints in a cost-minimization model for the Baltic Sea, we show that the distribution assumption bias is between 1% and 60%. Simulations show that a greater difference is to be expected for data with a higher degree of truncation. Using the normal distribution instead of the truncated normal distribution leads to an underestimation of the true cost. On the contrary, the difference in cost when using the normal versus the log-normal can be positive as well as negative.


Cost effectiveness; Water pollution; Chance-constrained programming; Log-normal distribution; Truncated normal distribution

Published in

Environmental Modeling and Assessment
2009, Volume: 15, number: 4, pages: 1-9
Publisher: Springer

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
    Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication identifier


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