IWA Publishing

Impact of weather conditions on pipe failure: a statistical analysis

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The occurrence of pipe failures in drinking water distribution networks may be influenced by weather conditions. In this work, a statistical analysis is performed to study the correlations between weather parameters and pipe failure in the Netherlands with the ultimate aim to predict the effects of climate change on network integrity. Failure data from a Dutch national failure database were divided into different cohorts, depending on type of pipe material, year of installation, and diameter class. Weather data related to temperature, drought, and wind were collected. Relationships between weather data and failure data were sought using a linear regression analysis and a frequency analysis. The latter analysis results in a weather variable dependent pipe failure frequency. The most obvious relationships were found between pipe failure and temperature. Failures in asbestos-cement (AC) and steel pipes increased during warm periods, which often simultaneously occurred when water consumptions were high. For cast iron pipes, failures increased at low temperatures. Drought parameters had a smaller effect on pipe failure than temperature, but still an increase in pipe failure was observed during dry periods for AC and steel pipes. No effect of weather conditions on pipe failure were observed for poly(vinyl chloride) and polyethylene pipes.

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