The water loss from a water distribution system is a serious problem for many cities, which incurs enormous economic and social loss. However, the economic and human resource costs to exactly locate the leakage are extraordinarily high. Thus, reliable and robust pipe failure models are demanded to assess a pipe's propensity to fail. Beijing City was selected as the case study area and the pipe failure data for 19 years (1987–2005) were analyzed. Three different kinds of methods were applied to build pipe failure models. First, a statistical model was built, which discovered that the ages of leakage pipes followed the Weibull distribution. Then, two other models were developed using genetic programming (GP) with different data pre-processing strategies. The three models were compared thereafter and the best model was applied to assess the criticality of all the pipe segments of the entire water supply network in Beijing City based on GIS data.

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