Risk-based prioritization of water main failure using fuzzy synthetic evaluation technique

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The prioritization of water mains for renewal requires the consideration of their impact on the deterioration of water quality, in addition to their structural integrity and hydraulic capacity. The deterioration of water mains may lead to structural failure that may have grave economic impacts. This paper develops a fuzzy-based decision support system (DSS) to identify the vulnerable locations in water distribution network (WDN) that may cause overall system failure not only to compromise structural integrity, but also include failures related to water quality and hydraulic capacity. The developed DSS was applied to Al-Khobar WDN located in the eastern part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. To achieve the objectives of the study, an aggregate vulnerability index representing the likelihood of system failure was developed using multi-criteria decision models. In addition, the potential impacts in terms of sensitivity index were also evaluated using advanced soft computing methods. Finally, a risk index, based on both vulnerability and sensitivity indices, was developed to help water managers to prioritize the water mains based on the overall risk of failure.

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