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

  1. Water quality should not get deteriorated in the distribution pipes.
  2. It should be capable of supplying water at all the intended places with sufficient pressure head.
  3. It should be capable of supplying the requisite amount of water during fire fighting.
  4. The layout should be such that no consumer would be without water supply, during the repair of any section of the system.
  5. All the distribution pipes should be preferably laid one metre away or above the sewer lines.
  6. 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 System
Grid Iron System
Ring System
Radial 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

  1. Underground reservoirs.
  2. Small ground level reservoirs.
  3. Large ground level reservoirs.
  4. Overhead tanks.

Storage Capacity of Distribution Reservoirs

The total storage capacity of a distribution reservoir is the summation of:

  1. 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.
  2. Breakdown Storage: The breakdown storage or often called emergency storage is the storage preserved in order to tide over the emergencies posed by the failure of pumps, electricity, or any othe mechanism driving the pumps. A value of about 25% of the total storage capacity of reservoirs, or 1.5 to 2 times of the average hourly supply, may be considered as enough provision for accounting this storage.
  3. Fire Storage: The third component of the total reservoir storage is the fire storage. This provision takes care of the requirements of water for extinguishing fires. A provision of 1 to 4 per person per day is sufficient to meet the requirement.

The total reservoir storage can finally be worked out by adding all the three storages.