Sustainability assessment of urban water distribution systems

Nazli Yonca Aydin, Larry Mays, Theo Schmitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


A methodology is presented for determining sustainability indices for pressure and water age in water distribution systems (WDSs). These sustainability indices are based upon performance criteria including reliability, resiliency, and vulnerability. Pressure and water age are determined for a WDS as a function of operation time using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPANET model. The values of pressure and water age are used to determine reliability, resiliency, and vulnerability performance criteria, which are then combined into the nodal sustainability indices for water age and pressure. In addition, the sustainability index (SI) computations are performed for zones to define the SI for water age and SI for pressure. A combined SI calculation is performed to produce an overall sustainability score for the entire zone in the water distribution network. The proposed methodology can be used to monitor the sustainability of existing WDSs and to help define alternative solutions including changes in pump operation and modifications to WDS to increase the sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4373-4384
Number of pages12
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jul 24 2014


  • Reliability
  • Resiliency
  • Sustainability
  • Vulnerability
  • Water distribution systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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