Intentional contamination of water distribution networks: developing indicators for sensitivity and vulnerability assessments

  • Amir NafiEmail author
  • Eric Crastes
  • Rehan Sadiq
  • Denis Gilbert
  • Olivier Piller
Original Paper


Performing a comprehensive risk analysis is primordial to ensure a reliable and sustainable water supply. Though the general framework of risk analysis is well established, specific adaptation seems needed for systems such as water distribution networks (WDN). Understanding of vulnerabilities of WDN against deliberate contamination and consumers’ sensitivity against contaminated water use is very vital to inform decision-maker. This paper presents an innovative step-by-step methodology for developing comprehensive indicators to perform sensitivity, vulnerability and criticality analyses in case of absence of early warning system (EWS). The assessment and the aggregation of these indicators with specific fuzzy operators allow identifying the most critical points in a WDN. Intentional intrusion of contaminants at these points can potentially harm both the consumers as well as water infrastructure. The implementation of the developed methodology has been demonstrated through a case study of a French WDN unequipped with sensors.


Risk Vulnerability Sensitivity Backtracking Intentional contamination Fuzzy logic Aggregation Water distribution network Security 



The work presented in the paper is part of the French-German collaborative research project SMart-OnlineWDN that is funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR Project: ANR-11-SECU-006) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; Project: 13N12180).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amir Nafi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eric Crastes
    • 1
  • Rehan Sadiq
    • 2
  • Denis Gilbert
    • 3
  • Olivier Piller
    • 3
  1. 1.Joint research unit Territorial Management of Water and the Environment (GESTE) Irstea-EngeesStrasbourg CedexFrance
  2. 2.School of Engineering University of British Columbia, Okanagan CampusKelownaCanada
  3. 3.Water Infrastructure Asset Management Team, Water Department, ETBX Research UnitIrsteaCestasFrance

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