The economic and social costs of pipe failures in water and wastewater systems are increasing, putting pressure on utility managers to develop annual replacement plans for critical pipes that balance investment with expected benefits in a risk-based management context. In addition to the need for a strategy for solving such a multi-objective problem, analysts and water system managers need reliable and robust failure models for assessing network performance. In particular, they are interested in assessing a conduit's propensity to fail and how to assign criticality to an individual pipe segment. In this paper, pipe deterioration is modelled using Evolutionary Polynomial Regression. This data-driven technique yields symbolic formulae that are intuitive and easily understandable by practitioners. The case study involves a water quality zone within a distribution system and entails the collection of historical data to develop network performance indicators. Finally, an approach for incorporating such indicators into a decision support system for pipe rehabilitation/replacement planning is introduced and articulated.