BTO rapport - BTO 2014.011

How future proof is our drinking water infrastructure


The drinking water distribution system (DWDS) is a critical infrastructure and a costly asset
with a life time of several decades. With rapidly changing urban environments and increasing
technological innovation, drinking water demand is likely to change in the coming decades.
However, quantifying these changes involves large uncertainties. In this study we developed
a methodology to analyse the robustness of the DWDS to deal with a wide range of future
demands. We developed a stress test to investigate the effects of a set of demand scenarios
on the network performance. In a first stage ten scenarios considering technological and
demographic changes were applied. We tested this approach with 4 networks. For each
scenario, ten diurnal patterns with a 5 minute time interval were simulated for each
connection with the stochastic end-use model SIMDEUM®. The consequences in the
networks were quantified using four indicators: 1) daily water demand, 2) daily peak demand,
3) head losses and 4) residence time. This study shows that the consequences for head
losses and water quality cannot be generalized, although comparison of different networks
provides an insight into the effect of a given scenario. These consequences have to be
quantified per network due to variations in size (connections, length and volume), number of
loops and demand.

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