Scenario-Based Sustainability Assessment to Provide Interactive Decision Support for the Long-Term Transition of Urban Water Supply Systems

  • This dissertation focuses on the evaluation of technical and environmental sustainability of water distribution systems based on scenario analysis. The decision support system is created to assist in the decision making-process and to visualize the results of the sustainability assessment for current and future populations and scenarios. First, a methodology is developed to assess the technical and environmental sustainability for the current and future water distribution system scenarios. Then, scenarios are produced to evaluate alternative solutions for the current water distribution system as well as future populations and water demand variations. Finally, a decision support system is proposed using a combination of several visualization approaches to increase the data readability and robustness for the sustainability evaluations of the water distribution system. The technical sustainability of a water distribution system is measured using the sustainability index methodology which is based on the reliability, resiliency and vulnerability performance criteria. Hydraulic efficiency and water quality requirements are represented using the nodal pressure and water age parameters, respectively. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPANET software is used to simulate hydraulic (i.e. nodal pressure) and water quality (i.e. water age) analysis in a case study. In addition, the environmental sustainability of a water network is evaluated using the “total fresh water use” and “total energy intensity” indicators. For each scenario, multi-criteria decision analysis is used to combine technical and environmental sustainability criteria for the study area. The technical and environmental sustainability assessment methodology is first applied to the baseline scenario (i.e. the current water distribution system). Critical locations where hydraulic efficiency and water quality problems occur in the current system are identified. There are two major scenario options that are considered to increase the sustainability at these critical locations. These scenarios focus on creating alternative systems in order to test and verify the technical and environmental sustainability methodology rather than obtaining the best solution for the current and future water distribution systems. The first scenario is a traditional approach in order to increase the hydraulic efficiency and water quality. This scenario includes using additional network components such as booster pumps, valves etc. The second scenario is based on using reclaimed water supply to meet the non-potable water demand and fire flow. The fire flow simulation is specifically included in the sustainability assessment since regulations have significant impact on the urban water infrastructure design. Eliminating the fire flow need from potable water distribution systems would assist in saving fresh water resources as well as to reduce detention times. The decision support system is created to visualize the results of each scenario and to effectively compare these results with each other. The EPANET software is a powerful tool used to conduct hydraulic and water quality analysis but for the decision support system purposes the visualization capabilities are limited. Therefore, in this dissertation, the hydraulic and water quality simulations are completed using EPANET software and the results for each scenario are visualized by combining several visualization techniques in order to provide a better data readability. The first technique introduced here is using small multiple maps instead of the animation technique to visualize the nodal pressure and water age parameters. This technique eliminates the change blindness and provides easy comparison of time steps. In addition, a procedure is proposed to aggregate the nodes along the edges in order to simplify the water network. A circle view technique is used to visualize two values of a single parameter (i.e. the nodal pressure or water age). The third approach is based on fitting the water network into a grid representation which assists in eliminating the irregular geographic distribution of the nodes and improves the visibility of each circle view. Finally, a prototype for an interactive decision support tool is proposed for the current population and water demand scenarios. Interactive tools enable analyzing of the aggregated nodes and provide information about the results of each of the current water distribution scenarios.

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Author:Nazli Yonca Aydin
Advisor:Theo G. Schmitt
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Language of publication:English
Publication Date:2014/11/25
Year of Publication:2014
Publishing Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Granting Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Acceptance Date of the Thesis:2014/10/11
Date of the Publication (Server):2014/11/25
GND-Keyword:Interactive decision support systems; Urban Water Supply; Water resources; Sustainability
Number of page:XIV, 246
Faculties / Organisational entities:Kaiserslautern - Fachbereich ARUBI
DDC-Cassification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 624 Ingenieurbau und Umwelttechnik
Licence (German):Standard gemäß KLUEDO-Leitlinien vom 28.10.2014