Pipe criticality analysis for water distribution systems

K. R. Piratla, Samuel Ariaratnam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


An approach to evaluate the relative criticality of different pipes in a water distribution system is presented. To quantify the relative criticality of pipelines, a term "Relative Criticality Index (RCI)" has been defined and measured. RCI was developed by summing up the effects of reliability, cost of break repairs and energy required to repair breaks. These three components have been quantified and added appropriately to obtain an overall criticality index of pipelines in water distribution systems. The model is demonstrated by using a 9.4 square mile area of a water distribution system comprising downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The availability of the study area was estimated to be 46.6 and the relative criticality index indicates that galvanized steel pipes followed by regular steel and ductile iron pipes in the system are critical (i.e. vulnerable) for the system considered. The analysis also presents predicted future costs and energy requirements to repair breaks in the water distribution system for a 20 year analysis period. The results indicate that the expenditures to repair pipe breaks in the system for the analysis period is estimated to be $17.1 million. Additionally, the energy required to repair these breaks during the same timeframe would be 2,486 MWH. A Relative Criticality Index (RCI), along with future requirements of critical resources, should aid cities in better planning and managing of their water distribution systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPipelines 2011
Subtitle of host publicationA Sound Conduit for Sharing Solutions - Proceedings of the Pipelines 2011 Conference
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2011
EventPipelines 2011: A Sound Conduit for Sharing Solutions - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: Jul 23 2011Jul 27 2011

Publication series

NamePipelines 2011: A Sound Conduit for Sharing Solutions - Proceedings of the Pipelines 2011 Conference


OtherPipelines 2011: A Sound Conduit for Sharing Solutions
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA


  • Pipes
  • Water distribution systems
  • Water pipelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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