Zero-net energy management for the monitoring and control of dynamically-partitioned smart water systems

Carlo Giudicianni, Manuel Herrera, Armando di Nardo, Armando Carravetta , Helena Ramos, Kemi Adeyeye

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The optimal and sustainable management of water distribution systems still represent an arduous task. In many instances, especially in aging water net-works, pressure management is imperative for reducing breakages and leakages. Therefore, optimal District Metered Areas represent an effective solution to decreasing the overall energy input without performance compromise. Within this context, this paper proposes a novel adaptive management framework for water distribution systems by reconfiguring the original network layout into (dynamic) district metered areas. It utilises a multiscale clustering algorithm to schedule district aggregation/desegregation, whilst delivering energy and supply management goals. The resulting framework was tested in a water utility network for the simultaneously production of energy during the day (by means of the installation of micro-hydropower systems) and for the reduction of water leakage during the night. From computational viewpoint, this was found to significantly reduce the time and complexity during the clustering and the dividing phase. In addition, in this case, a recovered energy potential of 19 MWh per year and leakage reduction of up to 16% was found. The addition of pump-as-turbines was also found to reduce investment and maintenance costs, giving improved reliability to the monitoring stations. The financial analyses to define the optimal period in which to invest also showed the economic feasibility of the proposed solution, which assures, in the analysed case study, a positive annual net income in just five years. This study demonstrates that the combined optimisation, energy recovery and creation of optimized multiple-task district stations lead to an efficient, resilient, sustainable, and low-cost management strategy for water distribution networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119745
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date18 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2020


  • Financial return-on-investment
  • Micro-hydropower systems
  • Sustainable and smart cities
  • Water distribution systems
  • Water leakage reduction
  • Water-energy nexus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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