Cost Optimization of Rural Water Systems

by Robert B. Robinson, (A.M.ASCE), Grad. Research Asst.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Iowa State Univ., Ames, Iowa,
T. Al Austin, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg. and Engrg. Research Inst., Iowa State Univ., Ames, Iowa,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 8, Pg. 1119-1134

Document Type: Journal Paper


A rural water system is a water supply and distribution system that is built for low density predominately unincorporated rural areas. It primarily serves domestic and livestock needs and does not necessarily supply fire fighting requirements. The pipe distribution network has the unique feature of being an unlooped or dead-end system in most cases. This paper describes a method for achieving the least cost or optimal design for certain portions of a rural water distribution system. Optimization is achieved by a method that combines linear programming and engineering judgment. The variables that can be considered by this approach are: (1)Pipe diameter; (2)pipe pressure rating; (3)pressure reducing valve setting and location; and (4)pumping head or water tower height. The method has been demonstrated on a simple hypothetical distribution system with good results.

Subject Headings: Water supply systems | Rural areas | Density currents | Livestock | Fires | Pipelines | Optimization models | Linear functions

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