A map depicting the major elements, interactions, and life cycle analysis issues of a typical water distribution system is presented as a network labyrinth. From this, focus is placed on the influence of leaks on energy and water consumption as well as the dissipation of hydraulic transients. Straightforward analytical expressions are derived in order to relate the energy efficiency of a leaky pipe to leak location and orifice properties. The ability of leaks to relieve pressure during hydraulic transients is briefly discussed with several challenges and issues surrounding the quantification of this attenuation effect being put forward. Considered from the broader perspective of the network labyrinth, a better understanding of leak related effects has implications for pipe rehabilitation models, system economics and environmental sustainability.

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