Multiobjective optimization of water distribution systems accounting for economic cost, hydraulic reliability, and greenhouse gas emissions



[1] In this paper, three objectives are considered for the optimization of water distribution systems (WDSs): the traditional objectives of minimizing economic cost and maximizing hydraulic reliability and the recently proposed objective of minimizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is particularly important to include the GHG minimization objective for WDSs involving pumping into storages or water transmission systems (WTSs), as these systems are the main contributors of GHG emissions in the water industry. In order to better understand the nature of tradeoffs among these three objectives, the shape of the solution space and the location of the Pareto-optimal front in the solution space are investigated for WTSs and WDSs that include pumping into storages, and the implications of the interaction between the three objectives are explored from a practical design perspective. Through three case studies, it is found that the solution space is a U-shaped curve rather than a surface, as the tradeoffs among the three objectives are dominated by the hydraulic reliability objective. The Pareto-optimal front of real-world systems is often located at the “elbow” section and lower “arm” of the solution space (i.e., the U-shaped curve), indicating that it is more economic to increase the hydraulic reliability of these systems by increasing pipe capacity (i.e., pipe diameter) compared to increasing pumping power. Solutions having the same GHG emission level but different cost-reliability tradeoffs often exist. Therefore, the final decision needs to be made in conjunction with expert knowledge and the specific budget and reliability requirements of the system.