Risk classification and uncertainty propagation for virtual water distribution systems Academic Article uri icon


  • While the secrecy of real water distribution system data is crucial, it poses difficulty for research as results cannot be publicized. This data includes topological layouts of pipe networks, pump operation schedules, and water demands. Therefore, a library of virtual water distribution systems can be an important research tool for comparative development of analytical methods. A virtual city, "Micropolis", has been developed, including a comprehensive water distribution system, as a first entry into such a library. This virtual city of 5000 residents is fully described in both geographic information systems (GIS) and EPANet hydraulic model frameworks. A risk classification scheme and Monte Carlo analysis are employed for an attempted water supply contamination attack. Model inputs to be considered include uncertainties in: daily water demand, seasonal demand, initial storage tank levels, the time of day a contamination event is initiated, duration of contamination event, and contaminant quantity. Findings show that reasonable uncertainties in model inputs produce high variability in exposure levels. It is also shown that exposure level distributions experience noticeable sensitivities to population clusters within the contaminant spread area. High uncertainties in exposure patterns lead to greater resources needed for more effective mitigation strategies. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Torres, J. M., Brumbelow, K., & Guikema, S. D.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Torres, Jacob M||Brumbelow, Kelly||Guikema, Seth D

publication date

  • January 2009