Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 168–179 | Cite as

Water distribution system failure: a framework for forensic analysis

  • M. Shafiqul Islam
  • Rehan Sadiq
  • Manuel J. Rodriguez
  • Homayoun Najjaran
  • Alex Francisque
  • Mina Hoorfar


The main purpose of a water distribution system (WDS) is to deliver safe water of desirable quality, quantity and continuity to consumers. However, in many cases, a WDS fails to fulfill its goal owing to structural and associated hydraulic failures and/or water quality failures. The impact of these failures can be reduced significantly if preventive actions are taken based on their potential of occurrences or if a failure occurs and is detected within a minimum period of time after its occurrence. The aim of this research was to develop a forensic system for WDS failures. As part of the proposed forensic analysis, a framework has been developed, which investigates structural and associated hydraulic failures as well as water quality failures and integrates all failure investigation under a single platform. Under this framework, four different models have been developed to evaluate and identify structural and associated hydraulic failures and water quality failures. If a failure is detected in the system, the framework is capable of identifying the most probable location of the failure. To investigate the effectiveness of the proposed framework, the developed models have been tested and implemented in different WDSs.


Water distribution system Leakage Water quality failure potential Fuzzy sets Forensic analysis TOPSIS OWA 



This research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under the Strategic Project Grants program. The authors would like to express sincere appreciation to the anonymous reviewers for their comments, which helped to improve the quality of the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Shafiqul Islam
    • 1
  • Rehan Sadiq
    • 1
  • Manuel J. Rodriguez
    • 2
  • Homayoun Najjaran
    • 1
  • Alex Francisque
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mina Hoorfar
    • 1
  1. 1.Okanagan School of EngineeringThe University of British ColumbiaKelownaCanada
  2. 2.École supérieure d’aménagement du territoireUniversité LavalQuébec CityCanada

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