Improving the Resilience of Postdisaster Water Distribution Systems Using Dynamic Optimization Framework

Qingzhou Zhang, Feifei Zheng*, Qiuwen Chen, Zoran Kapelan, Kegong Diao, Kejia Zhang, Yuan Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
131 Downloads (Pure)


Improving the resilience of water distribution systems (WDSs) to handle natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes) is a critical step toward sustainable urban water management. This requires the water utility to be able to respond quickly to such disaster events, and in an organized manner, to prioritize the use of available resources to restore service rapidly while minimizing the negative impacts. Many methods have been developed to evaluate the WDS resilience, but few efforts are made so far to improve the resilience of a postdisaster WDS through identifying optimal sequencing of recovery actions. To address this gap, the authors propose a new dynamic optimization framework in this study in which the resilience of a postdisaster WDS is evaluated using six different metrics. A tailored genetic algorithm is developed to solve the complex optimization problem driven by these metrics. The proposed framework is demonstrated using a real-world WDS with 6,064 pipes. Results obtained show that the proposed framework successfully identifies near-optimal sequencing of recovery actions for this complex WDS. The gained insights, conditional on the specific attributes of the case study, include the following: (1) the near-optimal sequencing of a recovery strategy heavily depends on the damage properties of the WDS; (2) replacements of damaged elements tend to be scheduled at the intermediate-late stages of the recovery process due to their long operation time; and (3) interventions to damaged pipe elements near critical facilities (e.g., hospitals) should not be necessarily the first priority to recover due to complex hydraulic interactions within the WDS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04019075
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Genetic algorithm
  • Postdisaster water distribution system
  • Recovery actions
  • Resilience
  • Sequencing


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