Research roadmap for main breaks

Samuel Ariaratnam, John Matthews

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


The need for investments in water infrastructure has been greatly publicized by the US EPA, WaterRF, ASCE, and many researchers, yet interest from the general public remains limited unless communities have been adversely affected. One of the more devastating effects of an aging potable water system is water main breaks. Main breaks are also a primary indicator of the condition of a distribution system due to their impact on system integrity, pressure and other operational parameters (Friedman et al., 2010). Recent studies estimate that water utilities maintain more than 2 million miles of distribution system mains in the US (EPA, 2006). The US EPA reports that there are an estimated 240,000 main breaks/year (~650/day) in the US (EPA, 2007) and other studies suggest that between 700 and 850 water main breaks occur each day in North America totaling more than $3B annually in repair costs (Water Main Break Clock, 2011). The significance of main breaks to water utilities includes several factors including but not limited to: (1) sudden and significant losses of water and pressure; (2) serious health or drinking water quality effects to customers; (3) other adverse effects to critical customers; and (4) major damage to the surroundings (Royer, 2005). This paper describes a WaterRF funded project and provides state-ofpractice in water main research and a recommended research roadmap to better understand main breaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Society for Trenchless Technology - 31st NO-DIG International Conference and Exhibition, NO-DIG Down Under 2013
PublisherInternational Society for Trenchless Technology
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2013
Event31st No-Dig International Conference and Exhibition, No-Dig DownUnder 2013 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: Sep 1 2013Sep 4 2013


Other31st No-Dig International Conference and Exhibition, No-Dig DownUnder 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geophysics
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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