Enhancing reclaimed water distribution network resilience with cost-effective meshing

Water Distribution Networks (WDNs) are critical infrastructures that ensure a continuous supply of safe water to homes. In the face of challenges, like water scarcity, establishing resilient networks is imperative, especially in regions vulnerable to water crises. This study evaluates the resilience of network designs through graph theory, including its hydraulic feasibility using EPANET software, an aspect often overlooked. Novel mathematical algorithms, including Resilience by Design (RbD) and Resilience-strengthening (RS) algorithms, provide cost-effective and resilient network designs, even with budget constraints. A novel metric, Water Availability (WA), is introduced to offer a comprehensive measure of network resilience, thereby addressing ongoing discrepancies in resilience evaluation methods. Practical benefits are illustrated through a case study in which a resilient-by-design reclaimed water network is created, and an existing equivalent non-resilient network is improved. The resilient-by-design network demonstrates remarkably better results compared to the equivalent non-resilient design, including up to a 36 % reduction in the probability of service disruptions and a nearly 65 % decrease in the annual average unserved water due to service disruptions. These findings underscore the enormous advantages of a resilience-focused network design approach. When compared to the equivalent non-resilient design, the resilient-by-design network generated effectively safeguards up to a significant 91.700 m3 of water from the impacts of water disruption events over a 50-year operational period. In addition, the resilient-by-design WDN solution incurs a subtle decrease in overall costs compared to consuming tap water from the drinking WDN baseline over a 50-year operational period. These findings highlight the cost-effectiveness of the approach, even offering financial benefits. This paper builds on our previous research by expanding its scope to include resilience considerations, providing algorithms that can be easily adapted from reclaimed to drinking WDNs. Ultimately, we contribute to the enhancement of water resource management and infrastructure planning in ever-evolving urban environments ​
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