Optimal meter placement for pipe burst detection in water distribution systems

Medhanie Hagos, Kevin E. Lansey, Donghwi Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Pipe bursts in water distribution systems (WDS) must be rapidly detected to minimize the loss of system functionality and recovery time. Pipe burst is the most common failure in WDS. It results in water loss out of the system, increased head losses, and low pressure at the customers' taps. Therefore, effective and efficient detection of pipe bursts can improve system resilience. To this end, this study proposes an optimal meter placement model to identify meter locations that maximize detection effectiveness for a given number of meters and type of meter. The linear programming model is demonstrated on a modified Austin EPANET hydraulic network. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for alternative pressure and flow meters are applied to investigate the relationship between the level of available information and pipe burst detection effectiveness. The optimal sensor locations were distinctly different depending on the type of meter and the objective to be considered. The ROC curves for alternative pressure and pipe flow meters showed that pipe flow meters are vulnerable to false alarms, and that using many pipe flow meters could detect all pipe bursts. Pressure meters could detect up to 82% of the burst events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-756
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Hydroinformatics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IWA Publishing .


  • Detection
  • Pipe bursts
  • Receiver operating characteristic (ROC)
  • Water distribution system
  • Western electric company (WEC) rules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Atmospheric Science


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