Loss of water due to leakage is a common phenomenon observed in all water distribution systems. However, the water loss can be reduced to an acceptable limit by improved understanding of leakage mechanisms and pathways, and the influencing factors that lead to leakage. This study proposes a methodology to estimate leakage potential (LP) in a water distribution system (WDS). The study has identified various factors which are directly and/or indirectly associated with LP in a WDS. The research has defined a selected set of influencing factors as fuzzy variables and has developed a fuzzy rule-based (FRB) model using Mamdani inferencing algorithm. The impact of influencing factors varies under different operating pressure, therefore a generalized methodology has been proposed. The proposed methodology has been implemented for a real WDS in Bangkok (Thailand). To evaluate the impacts of uncertainties of influencing factors on LP, Monte Carlo simulation-based sensitivity analysis has been carried out. It has been concluded that the operating system pressure and age of the network are the two most important factors that contribute to LP of a WDS. The proposed model will help water utility managers to prioritize their network rehabilitation strategies and to establishing an efficient active leakage control program.

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