A water distribution network can be referred to as a unified assemblage of hydraulic control, pipes, and resources such as regulators, valves, tanks, and pumps to meet the effective delivery of prescribed water quantities to customers at preferred water qualities and pressures. This study sorts to look at EPAnet’s contribution to water distribution network, water leakage, leakages of pipes in the water distribution network and the water network itself.
EPAnet is a program in the computer which helps to perform prolonged period reproduction of water and hydraulic quality behavior within pipe networks that are pressurized. Vasan and Slobodan state that EPAnet technology is used to track the way water flow in each distribution pipe (279). It measures the pressure that is involved during the water flow process, the water level in each distribution tank and concentration rate of chemical species that are used throughout the water distribution network. The design of EPAnet is purposely to be a tool for research so as to improve the understanding of how water in the distribution system moves and water constituents drinking fate within the whole water distribution system.
Liong et al., (99) also supports that EPAnet can be applied on analyzing the chlorine residual, calibrating the hydraulic model, sampling the water distribution program design to know whether it is effective or not, and assessing the water distribution network consumers (Liong et al. 99). Tzatchkov et al., (218) also support that EPAnet is useful in assessing management strategies that can be alternatively used to improve the quality of water in a water distribution network system (Tzatchkov et al., 218). Examples of the strategies are how pipe replacement and cleaning can be targeted, how satellite treatment use, for instance, re-chlorination can be used, another alternative for tank emptying and filling schedules as well as pumping, and an alternative utilization water source within the source systems that are already available.
Water networks are effectively designed so as to satisfy the requirements of water consumers. Consumer water requirements can be classified into industrial use, fire-fighting use, domestic use, and commercial use. Eusuff et al., (220) supports that the network system should have the potential of meeting the desires of water distribution network consumers at all times and make sure that the water network is at a satisfactory pressure (Eusuff et al. 220). Water distribution network system include facilities for water storage, fire hydrants, meters, connection for house service, pumping stations and the pipe system that is used. The network system has configurations. The network system is classified into a Grid system, branching system and branch and grid system. in Branch and grid system, water can be supplied from two directions and more to any preferred point. The configuration of the water distribution network system is designed from the way street patterns are designed, development degree and type of the location, storage and treatment tank location, and the topography of the area.
According to Cembrano et al., (1180), water distribution network has basic requirements that are fit for the system to work properly. One of the requirement is capacity (Cembrano et al. 1180). This can be determined by the water needs and demands of the locals and fire-fighters. The capacity demands will determine the size of pipes that are to be used for supplying water. These pipes are selected depending on the velocity flow, for instance, three to five fps. Where fire-fighters are, the diameter of minimum pipe should be six inches. Another basic requirement is pressure. As Todini suggests, water distribution network needs reliable pressure that can pump water to a consumer as required (122). Pressure should be enough to meet the desires of the fire-fighter and consumers. It should not be excessive so as to avoid pipe breakages and leakages as well that will lead to increase of maintenance and repair cost.
The water network hydraulic design should be based on designed flowrate which is based on maximum distribution flowrate in an hour and maximum water demand in a day. Mays supports that the water network system has pipes of various different diameters (122). Skeletonizing is the best method used to simplify the analysis process of water distribution network. Skeletonizing can be defined as using one pipe to replace a series of pipes that have different diameters.
Within the water network system, distribution reservoirs exist. Farmani et al., (171) supports that the reservoirs provide storage services to meet fluctuating water demands (Farmani et al. 171). The commonly used reservoirs are the surface reservoir and also standpipes. The reservoirs are located near use centers to reduce water flow distances. Displacement and centrifugal pumps are used to pump this water.
Water leakage is a common situation that is faced by water distribution network companies and mostly it leads to water loss. Puust et al., (40) supports that leakage affects the normal flow rate of water to a given center.it leads to unnecessary expenses (Puust et al. 40). In order to detect leakages, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition should be used to do the assessment of water distribution network. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition and Geographical Information Systems should all be incorporated to control the water distribution network structure so as to provide clear information on any leakage incidence detected. Immediately repair will be done and the network effectively maintained. This will reduce water loss and also help improve the water distribution network system.
Van et al., (321) suggests that water auditing programs should be introduced to the water distribution companies. The auditing program will work with leakage detectors to ensure that water leakages are amended so as to reduce water loss and repair costs (Van et al. 321). This will also improve operational efficiency and reduce water contamination.
As Giustolisi et al., (626) states, pipe leakage can be as a result of high pressure, therefore, leak detection determines places where pipe leakages exist (Giustolisi et al. 629). There are various methods that are used for pipe leakage detection namely infrared, laser technology and hydrostatic testing. Its repairs are same as the ones for water leakage.