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Chapter 1, “Introduction to Urban Water Distribution”, Trifunović, N. ,



Everybody understands the importance of water in our lives. Clean water has already been a matter of human concern for thousands of years. It is a known fact that all major early civilisations regarded an organised water supply as an essential requisite of any sizeable urban settlement.

Improvement of Water Supply today

Nearly 2000 years later, one would expect that the situation would have improved, bearing in mind the developments of science and technology since the collapse of the Roman Empire. Yet, there are still many regions in the world living under water supply conditions that the ancient Romans would have considered as extremely primitive.

Water supply coverage in the world

Water supply coverage in the world

Water supply growth, Asia & Africa

Water supply growth, Asia & Africa

Three different realities, based on some studies

Urban, Europe: direct supply Urban in arid area, Middle East:

intermittent supply but more or less continuous water use Rural, Asia: water often has to be collected from a distance.

In Africa

In Africa, there is little concern about the frequency of water supply interruptions; the water is fetched in buckets and average quantities are a few litres per head per day, which can be better described as ‘a few litres on head per day’.

How water is fetched (in some parts of Africa)

How water is fetched (in some parts of Africa)

How the Dutch gives importance to water supply

How the Dutch gives importance to water supply

Status Quo and the challenge today

Transport and distribution systems are very expensive even when perfectly designed and managed. Optimisation of design, operation and maintenance has always been, and will remain, the key challenge of any water supply company. Nowadays, this fact is underlined by the population explosion that is expected to continue in urban areas, particularly of the developing and newly industrialised countries in the coming years.

Population Growth

Population Growth


Transport and distribution

In general, a water supply system comprises the following processes:

raw water extraction and transport, water treatment and storage, clear water transport and distribution.

Water transport systems

Comprise main transmission lines of high and fairly constant capacities. Except for drinking water, these systems may be constructed for the conveyance of raw or partly treated water. As a part of the drinking water system, the transport lines do not directly serve consumers. They usually connect the clear water reservoir of a treatment plant with some central storage in the distribution area.

Water supply system process

Water supply system process

Water distribution systems

Consist of a network of smaller pipes with numerous connections that supply water directly to the users. The flow variations in such systems are much wider than in cases of water transport systems.

In order to achieve optimal operation, different types of reservoirs, pumping stations, water towers, as well as various appurtenances (valves, hydrants, measuring equipment, etc.) can be installed in the system.

Main objectives of water transport and distribution systems

supply of adequate water quantities maintaining the water quality achieved by the water treatment process

Design considerations in water transport and distribution systems

Speaking sufficient








water can be maintained by adequate pressure and velocity. Keeping pipes always under pressure

drastically reduces




external contamination.

Design considerations in water transport and distribution systems

Considering the engineering aspects, the quantity and quality requirements are met by making proper choices in the selection of components and materials.

Design considerations in water transport and distribution systems

In satisfying the quantity and quality objectives special attention should

be paid to the level of workmanship






well as



when carrying out







Piping is a part of transport and distribution systems that demands major investments.

The main components comprise pipes, joints, fittings, valves and service connections.

Classification of pipes according to function : (1) Trunk main

- a pipe for the transport of potable water from treatment plant to the distribution area. -diameters of between a few 100 millimetres and a few meters, in extreme cases.

Classification of pipes according to function : (2) Secondary mains

- pipes that form the basic skeleton of the distribution system; links the main components, sources, reservoirs and pumping stations, and enable the smooth distribution of bulk flows towards the areas of higher demand. - supports the system operation under irregular conditions (fire, major pipe burst, maintenance, etc.). -Typical diameters: 150–400 mm.

Classification of pipes according to function : (3) Distribution mains

- convey water from the secondary mains towards various consumers. - laid alongside roads and streets with numerous service connections and valves connected to guarantee the required level of supply. -common diameters between 80–200 mm.

(4) Service pipes

-From the distribution mains, numerous service pipes bring the water directly to the consumers. In the case of domestic supplies, the service pipes are generally around 25 mm (1 inch) but other consumers may require a larger size.

The end of the service pipe is the end point of the distribution system. From that point on, two options are possible:

A)Public connection -the service pipe terminates in one or more outlets and the water is consumed directly. This can be any type of public tap, fountain, etc.

B)Private connection -the service pipe terminates at a stopcock of a private installation within a dwelling. This is the point where the responsibility of the water supply company usually stops. These can be different types of house or garden connections, as well as connections for non-domestic use.

Schematic lay-out of a service connection

Schematic lay-out of a service connection
Thank you!

Thank you!