Must the water networks be fail-proof or must they remain safe during a failure? What must water system managers try to achieve? The present paper introduces a methodology for the hierarchical analysis (in time and space) of the preventive maintenance policy of water supply networks, using water supply system performance indices. This is being accomplished through a technical–economic analysis that takes into account all kinds of costs referring to the repair or replacement of trouble-causing parts of the water supply network. The optimal preventive maintenance schedule suggested by the methodology is compared with the empirically based maintenance policy applied to the Athens water supply system.

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