Water Supply and Distribution Systems

Module aims

  • To provide an understanding of the operation, modelling and control of water supply systems to ensure their resilient operation in a changing world.
  • Water distribution systems are large scale infrastructure which is complex, difficult to characterise and control, and subjected to infrastructure aging, deterioration, water quality degradation and capacity shortages. Nearly 60% of the world population will soon be urban dwellers. This exploding urban population growth creates unprecedented challenges, among which the provision of clean water and sanitation have been the most pressing and painfully felt when lacking.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • Appreciate the economic and organisational context relating to water supply, and water utilities in general.
  • Understand the key components of a water supply system.
  • Gain understanding of methods to assess and reduce water loss (including optimal pressure control).
  • Understand the operation of pumps, and the basis for designing pumping stations and service reservoirs.
  • Be familiar with the state of art in water distribution systems hydraulic and water quality modelling and optimisation.
  • Gain insight into basic and advanced concepts of solving complex hydraulic and water quality problems in water distribution systems.
  • Carry out basic design calculations to specify the selection of pumps and the design of service reservoirs.
  • Carry out calculations to estimate demand and design flows.
  • Carry out calculations for the optimal design of water distribution networks.
  • Model the hydraulic and water quality conditions in water supply networks (linear programming methods using Matlab).
  • Gain familiarity with the use of modelling software packages (EPANET and Infoworks WS).
  • Solve complex hydraulic and water quality problems to optimise the performance of a water distribution system.

Module syllabus

  • The course will start with the fundamentals of water distribution hydraulics and then proceed with modelling and analysis applications that consider both the system hydraulics and water quality. The course brings together both theoretical and practical methods and information to effectively model, analyse and optimise the operation of water supply systems.
  • Water Supply Systems: Components, structure and legislation.
  • Management of Demand and Water Loss.
  • Pumps and Pumping Stations.
  • Water Distribution Networks and Service Storage.
  • Distribution Network Design: Principles, modelling, analysis.
  • Modelling and Operational Control: Hydraulic and water quality.
  • Informatic Support to Water Distribution Systems.  





Water Supply Systems: Introduction



Hydraulic Principles



Network Components & Systems



Network Modelling – Part I



Network Modelling – Part II

IS, External Industry Expert


Pumps & Pumping Stations



Water Losses & Pressure Management

IS, External Industry Expert


Water Quality Modelling



Hydraulic Transients


Teaching methods

A combination of lectures and tutorials.


Information will be provided separately.

Reading list

Module leaders

Dr Ivan Stoianov