Abstract

Unexpected pipe breaks in municipal water distribution systems may cause isolation of parts of the network or reduction of redundancy, leading to reduced system reliability. While a network with less redundancy implies less tolerance to further breaks, the isolation of nodes explicitly indicates unavailability of the system to service the nodes. This paper presents a method of measuring these topological changes using algebraic connectivity (AC). AC is a parameter that can be used to assess robustness and redundancy of a network. The changes in AC associated with pipe breaks are compared with the AC of intact networks to assess whether the removal of the pipe causes reduction of redundancy or isolation in the network. An AC of 1.5625 × 10−5 is calculated for an intake of a medium-sized water distribution network (WDN). The fluctuation in AC is used to assess the criticality of each pipe segment to the overall structure of the network. This study also evaluates the failure probability of the WDN, assuming that the network failure probability is equivalent to the probability of isolation of parts of the system due to pipe breaks. The breaks leading to the failure are identified using the method of the minimum cut-sets.

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