In many countries, users acquire private tanks to reduce their vulnerability to water scarcity. In such conditions, water managers often apply intermittent distribution in order to reduce the water volumes supplied to the users. This practice modifies the hydraulic behaviour of the network and determines competition among users that need to collect enough water resource for their uses. Intermittent distribution is thus responsible for the inequality that can occur among users: those located in advantaged positions of the network are able to obtain water resources soon after the service period begins, while others have to wait much longer, after the network is full. This paper analyses the inequalities that take part when intermittent distribution is applied in water scarcity scenarios. Considering the complexity of the process, the analysis was performed by means of an unsteady numerical model. The model was applied to a real case study which provided interesting insights into the network filling process, helping to highlight the advantaged and disadvantaged areas of the network in different water scarcity scenarios.
Keywords: intermittent distribution, pipe-filling process, private water tanks, water distribution network modelling