Using Complex Network Analysis for Optimization of Water Distribution Networks

Robert Sitzenfrei, Qi Wang, Zoran Kapelan, Dragan Savić

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The optimization of water networks supports the decision-making process by identifying the optimal trade-off between costs and performance (e.g., resilience and leakage). A major challenge in the domain of water distribution systems (WDSs) is the network (re)design. While the complex nature of WDS has already been explored with complex network analysis (CNA), literature is still lacking a CNA of optimal water networks. Based on a systematic CNA of Pareto-optimal solutions of different WDSs, several graph characteristics are identified, and a newly developed CNA design approach for WDSs is proposed. The results show that obtained designs are comparable with results found by evolutionary optimization, but the CNA approach is applicable for large networks (e.g., 150,000 pipes) with a substantially reduced computational effort (runtime reduction up to 5 orders of magnitude).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020WR027929
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • characteristics of optimal WDSs
  • edge betweenness centrality
  • graph analysis
  • large networks

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