Water Distribution System Challenges And Solutions

Providing sufficient water of appropriate quality and quantity has been one of the most important issues in human history. Most ancient civilizations were initiated near water sources. As populations grew, the challenge to meet user demands also increased. People began to transport water from other locations to their communities. For example, the Romans constructed aqueducts to deliver water from distant sources to their communities. Today, a water supply system consists of infrastructure that collects, treats, stores, and distributes water between water sources and consumers. Limited new natural water sources, especially in the southwest region of the USA, and rapidly increasing population has led to the need for innovative methods to manage a water supply system. For example, reclaimed water has become an essential water resource for potable and nonpotable uses. Structural system additions including new conveyance systems and treatment and recharge facilities and operation decisions, such as allocating flow and implementing conservation practices, are made with the present and future demands in minds. As additional components and linkages between sources and users are developed, the complexity of the water supply system and the difficulty in understanding how the system will react to changes grows. Many efforts on the development of a water supply system have been made through for sustainable water supply. However, the complexity of system limited the site specific application at the first era. As water demands pressures raise increasingly on the existing water supply system, many studies attempted to develop a general water supply system to assist decision makers to design more reliable systems for a long range operation period. These attempts also include the optimization of total system construction and operation cost. Under given situations such as pipeline maintenance, non-revenue water, advanced metering infrastructure, the ultimate goal of this paper is to ensure water distribution system challenges are overcome and   supply water sources to users reliably in a more sustainable and timely manner as a long-term plan. Water Distribution Systems The purpose of distribution system is to deliver water to consumer with appropriate quality, quantity and pressure. Distribution system is used to describe collectively the facilities used to supply water from its source to the point of usage. Requirements of Good Distribution System Water quality should not get deteriorated in the distribution pipes. It should be capable of supplying water at all the intended places with sufficient pressure head. It should be capable of supplying the Read More

Current and future challenges for water resources management

I was recently asked to present on the current and future challenges for a water resources manager to address. We have seen a great deal of change and progress in how we plan for water resources in England over the last decade. This blog post summarises some of the key challenges I highlighted in my presentation. Join the discussion as part of Theme 6 on Water Resources and Large Scale Water Management at the IWA World Water Congress in Copenhagen (October 2020 – see call for papers here). PRESSURES ON WATER RESOURCES We face increasing pressures on water resources from climate change, population growth and the need to protect the environment. The latest summary of these pressures has been provided by the National Infrastructure Commission’s 2018 report Preparing for a drier future: England’s water infrastructure needs. This sets out a 1 in 4 chance of serious drought between now and 2050 and that emergency options to address this could cost £40 billion vs £21 billion by taking a strategic approach. The Water UK Long Term Water Resource Planning Framework also highlights that there is an increasing risk of more frequent and intense droughts across England and Wales, not just in the South East. CURRENT CHALLENGES Regulatory complexity and planning We face a complicated policy and regulatory landscape when it comes to management of water resources. This is summarised by the figure below from Ofwat’s Water 2020 report and since its publications there are further government policies linked to the 25 Year Environment Plan (e.g. biodiversity net gain) and new plans such as Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans that will have implications going forward for water resources management. Water companies face many tensions around meeting the objectives of Defra, Ofwat, the Environment Agency, CCWater and other government bodies. Additionally, the timeframes for planning are still not aligned. In the latest planning period there has been greater consideration of the links between drought planning and long-term water resources management plans (WRMPs). An increasing level of complexity has been introduced into the water resources planning process. This is set out in the 2016 UWKIR report WRMP 2019 Methods – Decision Making Process: Guidance. Taking a risk based approach enables selection of the most appropriate methods for individual water companies. However, many of the more advanced processes may be less transparent and can be hard to communicate to customers and wider stakeholders. We need to keep sight of outputs and visualisations as decision Read More


1 Human Ambitions and Earth’s Limits Throughout the world, demographic, economic, and technological trends have accelerated our ability to knowingly and unknowingly modify the environment we live in and that sustains us. We humans have become the principal driver of environmental change. Our actions are impacting our global environment, including our climate. This in turn impacts the amounts and spatial and temporal distributions of precipitation that falls on watersheds and the timing of its runoff. Coupled with changes in landscapes, due to growth in food and energy production and from the movement of people into urban centers, we are altering the quantity and quality of our freshwater resources on which we depend to survive, both physically and economically. We depend on water not only for life itself, but indeed for our economic wellbeing as well. Water plays a role in the creation of everything we produce. There are no substitutes and while it is renewable there is only a finite amount of it. In the past, we have made decisions regarding the management of our water resources that have not always helped us become more secure or sustainable. We have disrupted and overallocated river flow regimes—sometimes to the point of drying them up, along with their downstream lakes. We have overdrawn groundwater aquifers; polluted many, if not most of our water bodies including estuaries, coastal zones and even oceans; and degraded ecosystems. We have done this mainly to satisfy short-term economic goals, often goals that may not have included the long-term environmental—or even economic—sustainability of region or basin, and indeed our own health. Our planet no longer functions in the way it once did. Earth is currently confronted with a relatively new situation, the ability of humans to transform the atmosphere, degrade the biosphere, and alter the lithosphere and hydrosphere. The challenges of our current decade—resource constraints, financial instability, religious conflict, inequalities within and between countries, environmental degradation—all suggest that business-as-usual cannot continue. These challenges to effective planetary stewardship must be addressed and soon. The various parts of the Earth system – rock, water, and atmosphere – are all involved in interrelated cycles where matter is continually in motion and is used and reused in the various planetary processes. Without interlocked cycles and recycling, the components of our Earth could not function as an integrated system. In the last 50 years or so we have come to recognize the movements Read More

Global water crisis: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

There’s nothing more essential to life on Earth than water and our ability to overcome water scarcity. From Central Australia to sub-Saharan Africa and Asia’s teeming megacities, water is scarce. People are struggling to access the clean water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing, hand-washing, and growing their food. What is water scarcity? Water scarcity is defined as a water deficiency or a lack of safe water supplies. As the population of the world grows and the environment becomes further affected by climate change, access to fresh drinking water dwindles. Globally, 785 million people lack access to clean drinking water. Every day, over 800 children die from dirty water, due to diarrhea caused by poor water, sanitation, and hygiene and scarce or unreliable water and sanitation facilities in many communities around the world. The impacts of water scarcity affect families and their communities. Without clean, easily accessible water, they can become locked in poverty for generations. Children drop out of school and parents struggle to make a living. Women and children are worst affected – children because they are more vulnerable to diseases of dirty water and women and girls because they often bear the burden of carrying water for their families for an estimated 200 million hours each day. Access to clean water changes everything; it’s a stepping stone to development. When people gain access to clean water, they are better able to practice good hygiene and sanitation. Children enjoy good health and are more likely to attend school. Parents put aside their worries about water-related diseases and lack of access to clean water. Instead, they can focus on watering their crops and livestock and diversifying their incomes. Johanna, 23, holds her son David, five, so he can wash his face and drink clean water flowing from one of the taps in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras. The water system was built by the community with support from World Vision. Facts of the Global water crisis The 1700s to 1800s: Industrialisation leads to increased urbanization in England, highlighting the need for clean water supplies and sanitation. The 1800s: Water shortages first appear in historical records. 1854: Dr. John Snow discovers the link between water and the spread of cholera during an outbreak in London. The 1900s: Since 1900, more than 11 billion people have died from drought, and drought has affected more than one billion people. 1993: The U.N. General Assembly designates March 22 as World Water Day. 2000: The U.N. member states set Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for development progress, including a 2015 Read More

Cold Water System Design

Cold Water Supply Water Infrastructure & Building Codes Every building needs an adequate supply of potable water for drinking and for personal hygiene, as well as general activities that include cleaning, cooking, and, in industrial settings, various manufacturing processes. Every city has its own infrastructure and regulations that govern the supply of water to building owners. For instance, in New York, the New York City (NYC) Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for water management and operates and maintains the city’s water system. In Chicago, water management is the responsibility of the city’s Department of Water Management.   In addition to the American National Standard, the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) that provides minimum standards and requirements for plumbing, all cities have their own building and plumbing codes. These dictate standards and minimum specifications that relate to every element of the building process including cold water system design and construction. The plumbing engineering design team at New York Engineers understands all the ramifications of the complex water infrastructures we deal with. We also have deep knowledge and many years of experience of the various plumbing codes and how they relate to different buildings and dwelling units in terms of cold water supply. These include the NYC Plumbing Code that we work with on a daily basis.  Additionally, we have a thorough insight into standards and guidelines published by the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the American Society of Civil engineers (ASCE), and the Ten State Standards: the Recommended Standards for Water Works.  Water systems, including cold water systems, must be designed by professional engineers who are licensed in the state they operate in. Complex projects require the involvement of structural, mechanical, engineering, and plumbing specialists, which is one of the reasons our experienced MEP engineers can guarantee fast turnaround times. Water Supplied to Buildings Water quality is a vital consideration for any MEP engineer designing a cold water system. The NYC Plumbing Code requires that all the city’s water comes from a reliable source of potable water, preferably an existing public water main that is maintained by the city. More specifically, the code states that all potable water must be “free from impurities present in amounts sufficient to cause disease or harmful physiological effects and conforming to the bacteriological and chemical quality requirements of the New York State Sanitary Code.” Occasionally, potable public water supplies are not available and we are forced to find other sources. But we cannot do this Read More

Water Filters: The Many Ways to Purify Your Drinking Water

When it comes to drinking water, everyone wants clean, great-tasting water. For many families, a home water filter helps to provide them with pristine water that is free of odors, chemicals, lead, and other potentially toxic substances. Despite the fact that many of these filters seem identical, there are significant differences between the many types and brands. If you have ever considered purchasing a water filtration system for your home or office, the information below will help you understand the different technologies and their functions. What You Need to Know Before Buying a Water Filter As mentioned above, all water filters are not identical. Here are three more commonly unknown facts about water filtration systems: Filter quality varies from one brand to another, each one eliminating a specific set of contaminants. Just because a filter is “NSF Certified,” it is not guaranteed to remove any specific contaminant. Some filters rely on multiple technologies in order to remove contaminants, while others utilize a single type. If you wish to better understand the more technical elements of your water filter, simply read the label or visit the company website before you make a purchase. Click Here to View All Water Filtration Systems & Dispensers 10 Water Filtration Methods Before you buy any type of water for your home, whether a jug from the store, a filter, or even a water cooler, it’s wise to know more about the various purification methods that may have happened before you take a sip. Some filtration methods are better at removing particles and contaminants than others. Here’s a quick overview of each type of water filtration method. 1. Activated Carbon Carbon removes contaminants by chemically bonding to the water that is poured into the system. Some are only effective at removing chlorine, which only improves taste and odor, while others remove more harmful contaminants, such as mercury and lead. It is important to note that carbon filters do not have the ability to remove inorganic pollutants such as nitrates, fluoride, and arsenic. Carbon filters are usually sold in block or granulated form to consumers. 2. Distillation Distillation is one of the oldest water purification methods. It vaporizes water by heating it to exceptionally high temperatures. The vapor is then condensed back into drinkable, liquid water. Distillation removes minerals, microorganisms, and chemicals that have a high boiling point. These filters cannot remove chlorine and many other volatile organic chemicals. 3. Read More

Eight Benefits Of Installing A Home Water Filtration System

The delivery of clean water through municipal water supply systems to our homes is one of the hallmarks of modern civilization. Modern water supply systems test and treat water to ensure it’s safe for all of our needs — drinking, cooking, cleaning, and more. You want to be sure that the water we use is as pure as possible, and a practical way to ensure that is to add a water filtration system to your home, whether it is a whole house water filter or a water filter located on the water line in your kitchen sink or another water source. Are you concerned about the water in your area? Check out this handy resource from the EPA that provides information on safe drinking water throughout the United States. The benefits of a home water filtration system Whether your water comes from city water or well-based water systems, you want to ensure that it’s safe for your family. There are many opportunities for contaminants to enter your water, and even if your water is free of contaminants, high levels of minerals can affect the taste of your tap water or make the operation of your dishwasher or clothes washer less efficient. The best way to tackle these issues is to filter your water in your home, at the point where you’ll use it. Here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy by installing a filtration system. Enjoy safe drinking water all the time  The consequences of having unsafe drinking water can be dire. Pollutants like heavy metals can have profound health consequences at worst, or at best make your water unpalatable. While the vast majority of municipal water systems in the United States do an excellent job of treating our water and ensuring water quality, there is always the danger of system failures, so it’s best to be safe. If you filter your water with an effective home water filtration system you’re making a smart investment in the health of your family. Save money  If you’re buying bottled water for your family to use at home the costs can add up quickly. For the average family drinking 2-3 bottles of water a day, annual costs can easily exceed $500. That’s money can be recouped in a timely fashion after you install a water filtration system in your home. And there’s another drawback to bottled water… Help preserve our environment You’re probably familiar Read More

Water Distribution Systems

The purpose of the distribution system is to deliver water to consumer with appropriate quality, quantity, and pressure. A distribution system is used to describe collectively the facilities used to supply water from its source to the point of usage. Requirements of Good Distribution System Water quality should not get deteriorated in the distribution pipes. It should be capable of supplying water at all the intended places with sufficient pressure head. It should be capable of supplying the requisite amount of water during fire fighting. The layout should be such that no consumer would be without water supply, during the repair of any section of the system. All the distribution pipes should be preferably laid one metre away or above the sewer lines. It should be fairly water-tight as to keep losses due to leakage to the minimum. Layouts of Distribution Network The distribution pipes are generally laid below the road pavements, and as such their layouts generally follow the layouts of roads. There are, in general, four different types of pipe networks; any one of which either singly or in combinations, can be used for a particular place. They are: Dead End SystemGrid Iron SystemRing SystemRadial System Distribution Reservoirs Distribution reservoirs, also called service reservoirs, are the storage reservoirs, which store the treated water for supplying water during emergencies (such as during fires, repairs, etc.) and also to help in absorbing the hourly fluctuations in the normal water demand. Functions of Distribution Reservoirs: to absorb the hourly variations in demand. to maintain constant pressure in the distribution mains. water stored can be supplied during emergencies. Location and Height of Distribution Reservoirs: should be located as close as possible to the center of demand. water level in the reservoir must be at a sufficient elevation to permit gravity flow at an adequate pressure. Types of Reservoirs Underground reservoirs. Small ground level reservoirs. Large ground level reservoirs. Overhead tanks. Storage Capacity of Distribution Reservoirs The total storage capacity of a distribution reservoir is the summation of: Balancing Storage: The quantity of water required to be stored in the reservoir for equalising or balancing fluctuating demand against constant supply is known as the balancing storage (or equalising or operating storage). The balance storage can be worked out by mass curve method. Breakdown Storage: The breakdown storage or often called emergency storage is the storage preserved in order to tide over the emergencies posed by the Read More

Water System Maintenance: Importance and Tips

Today, several types of water treatment technologies are used in public water and wastewater facilities. These treatments involve flocculation, aeration, coagulation, filtration, lime softening, sanitization, etc. Many of these same concepts are downsized and utilized for residential point-of-entry equipment. Unlike whole house systems, public systems have continuous monitoring and highly skilled laborers maintain the system to ensure the quality of product release or waste discharge. Even despite this, some impurities may pass through public systems. Also, chemicals used from public systems are reacting with aging and deteriorating pipe in the distribution system and is why homeowners want to have further treatment for their peace of mind. Just like a public system, all home filtration systems will require some form of maintenance either as a preventative or scheduled replacement. Residential water treatment technologies may include reverse osmosis (RO) systems, whole-house filters, water softeners, UV lights, ionizers, etc.. All these treatment systems operate in continuous cycles with little downtime. This can cause causes sediment trapping, clogged or fouled filters beds, damaged cartridges, etc. To avoid these types of issues with your water treatment system, maintenance is essential. Running a water system without preventive maintenance for a long duration is pure negligence that may cause system failure, contamination breakthrough, or an expensive repair/replacement. This post discusses the importance of water treatment system maintenance, along with a few beneficial tips. Importance of Water System Maintenance When it comes to water treatment, water system maintenance holds high significance for the overall performance of the system. Maintenance as a Preventive Measure: The continuously working water systems are subjected to problems like wasted power, leakages, inefficient filtration, clogged filters, etc. Therefore, maintenance is important to prevent such issues. Regular cleaning and replacing of cartridge filters, timely backwashing of filters or regeneration of softeners, and backup battery power testing, are just some common examples of filtration system maintenance that can ensure the system is operating efficiently. Any system should at least have a quick visual inspection every quarter by the homeowner to make sure everything is in working order. Enhanced Performance Efficiency: Maintenance helps in enhancing the performance efficiency of the water treatment system. For example: Under-the-sink RO water system maintenance suggests the replacement of pre-filter every 6 to 12 months (exptions may apply). This helps to preventing fouling of the reverse osmosis membrane and eventually enhances the performance efficiency and life of the membranes. With water softeners and other ion exchange systems, salt must be Read More

Importance of a safe water supply system

Water is a basic need for every human being.  Most of the world population still does not have centralized water supply with connections to individual households.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), roughly 2.4 billion of the world’s population does not have access to an improved sanitation facility and about 1.1 billion people does not have access to safe drinking water. The provision of safe and adequate drinking water to the burgeoning urban population continues to be one of the major challenging tasks for any state.  Water constitutes one of the important physical environments of man and has a direct bearing on the health and hygiene of mankind.  There is no denying the fact that the contamination of water leads to numerous health hazards.   Water is precious to man and therefore WHO refers to “control of Water supplies to ensure that they are pure and wholesome as one of the primary objectives of environmental sanitation”. Safe water is one of the most important felt needs in public health in developing countries in the twenty first century. The year 2005 marked the beginning of the “International Decade for Action: Water for Life” and renewed effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce by half the proportion of the world’s population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015. The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, known as the JMP, reports every two years on access to drinking water and sanitation worldwide and on progress towards related targets under Millennium Development Goal (MDG). MDG drinking water target, which calls for halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2015, was met in 2010, five years ahead of schedule. However, the report also shows why the job is far from finished. Many still lack safe drinking water, and the world is unlikely to meet the MDG sanitation target. Continued efforts are needed to reduce urban-rural disparities and inequities associated with poverty. Water is a good carrier of disease germs.  If water is not made safe against disease germs, it may become responsible for so many diseases and epidemics.  Diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, etc are the direct causes of defective water supply.  Water is a also a very good solvent.  If water contains excessive amounts of minerals or poisonous dissolved substances, it will again cause Read More