Water networks are the infrastructure used to transfer water from the source to the end user. They are also known as conveyance systems, underground assets, and reticulations and are part of the supply system (along with water treatment).
The source is often considered to be the water treatment plant, however the raw water intakes, storage and conveyance can also be regarded as part of the network.
Treated water networks are typically divided into two sections: transmission and distribution.
Water Transmission – Trunk Mains
The transmission system moves the water in bulk from the source to the area in which it is required. Generally using large diameter trunk mains following as direct a route as practicable.
Service reservoirs are covered reservoirs or tanks that provide a buffer storage volume of treated water. This buffering allows relatively constant transmission flows to the service reservoirs, despite the diurnal variations in water leaving the reservoirs to meet local demand. These relatively constant bulk flows allow water treatment plant to be operated more efficiently.
Many service reservoirs are located underground or partially underground. Where the landscape allows these to be located above the network, they can be used to maintain positive pressure. For this reason, water towers are a common form of service reservoir in flat terrain.
The distribution system distributes water to the end-users, using smaller diameter pipework than the trunk mains, often in ring mains and other-such configurations to avoid dead-ends and provide redundancy. The distribution pipes are sized to accommodate end-users’ demands, or fire fighting needs.
Water may be supplied under gravity (from water towers or raised reservoirs) or pumped. In either case it is normal for the water to be pressurised so that all leaks flow outwards hence reducing the risk of contamination.
Network pressure control is also essential for a number of reasons. Excessive pressure requires excessive energy and is likely to exacerbate leakage, hence wasting both water and energy. Conversely, if pressure is too low at the customers tap, customers may install pumps to draw water from the network. This will likely lead to negative pressure, which may draw contaminants into the network.
Booster stations, or pumping stations are used to increase the pressure (and sometimes residual disinfectant concentration) in the network.
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Aqueum engineers enjoy solving network water quality issues, and have significant water master planning experience. We can also help with design and water quality or hydraulic optimisation through network modelling. Please contact us if you need assistance.