In this work, an optimal design of a water distribution network is proposed for large irrigation networks. The proposed approach is built upon an existing optimization method (NSGA-II), but the authors are proposing its effective application in a new two-step optimization process. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate that not only is the choice of method important for obtaining good optimization results, but also how that method is applied. The proposed methodology utilizes as its most important feature the ensemble approach, in which more optimization runs cooperate and are used together. The authors assume that the main problem in finding the optimal solution for a water distribution optimization problem is the very large size of the search space in which the optimal solution should be found. In the proposed method, a reduction of the search space is suggested, so the final solution is thus easier to find and offers greater guarantees of accuracy (closeness to the global optimum). The method has been successfully tested on a large benchmark irrigation network.

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