To develop sustainable groundwater management strategies, generally coupled simulation-optimization (SO) models are used. In this study, a new SO model is developed by coupling moving least squares (MLS)-based meshless local Petrov-Galerkin (MLPG) method and modified artificial bee colony (MABC) algorithm. The MLPG simulation model utilizes the advantages of meshless methods over the grid-based techniques such as finite difference (FDM) and finite element method (FEM). For optimization, the basic artificial bee colony algorithm is modified to balance the exploration and exploitation capacity of the model more effectively. The performance of the developed MLPG-MABC model is investigated by applying it to hypothetical and field problems with three different management scenarios. The model results are compared with other available SO model solutions for its accuracy. Further, sensitivity analyses of various model parameters are carried out to check the robustness of the SO model. The proposed model gave quite promising results, showing the applicability of the present approach.