This paper explores the relationship between the minimum cost design of water distribution networks (WDNs) and the minimum water path criterion (MWPC), according to which the water entering the network through the source nodes should cover the shortest possible paths before being delivered to users. To this end, a three-step linear algorithm for WDN design based on the MWPC and set up in the 1980s was applied to many benchmark case studies. The results of the linear three-step algorithm were almost coincident with, and in some cases superior to, those produced by more complex and burdensome algorithms. This represents a solid proof of the strong implications of the MWPC for WDN design.

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