A Decision Support Too for a Sustainable Management of Water Distribution Networks
Water distribution networks (WDN) are often described as arteries of urban and rural areas since they sustain all human activities. Unfortunately, after several decades of uninterrupted functioning, ageing and deterioration due to external and internal agents have caused a reduction in terms of pipe hydraulic capacity and, more importantly, an increased level of leakages. Traditionally WDN’s maintenance was based on reactive replacement/repair of pipes after that failures occurred. In recent years the increasing of failures rates in many WDN worldwide have driven water
managers to move towards a proactive approach in order to plan rehabilitation/maintenance of infrastructures before that major incidents would occur. This paper points out at the architecture of a decision support system (DSS) which integrates all information (both qualitative and quantitative) currently available on real WDN, recent advancements in ICT and management objectives for defining optimal medium-term rehabilitation plans. It consists of three main components: (1) a modeling tool including, besides other models, some utilities for automatic WDN hydraulic analysis; (2) a data-management tool allowing different types of information to be stored and the usage some artificial intelligence
techniques in order to mine additional information from data and (3) an optimization tool aiming at searching optimal alternatives for decision makers. The main features of each component as well as their integration are further discussed and exemplified in a realworld case study.