The paradigm of “divide and conquer” has been well used in Water Distribution Systems (WDSs) zoning planning in recent years. Indeed, Water Network Partitioning (WNP) has played an irreplaceable role in leakage control and pressure management; meanwhile it also has certain drawbacks, such as reduction of the supply reliability of the pipe network system and increased terminal dead water, as a result of the closure of the pipe section. In this paper, an improvement is made to the method proposed by Di Nardo et al. (2013) for optimal location of flow meters and valves. Three improvements to the genetic algorithm are proposed in this work for better and faster optimization in the dividing phase of WNP: preliminary hydraulic analysis which reduces the number of decision variables; modifications to the crossover mechanism to protect the superior individuals in the later stage; and boundary pipe grouping and mutation based on the pipe importance. The objective function considers the master–subordinate relationship when minimizing the number of flow meters and the difference of hydraulic state compared to original WDS. Another objective function of minimizing the deterioration of water quality compared to original WDS is also evaluated. The proposed method is applied for the WNP in a real WDS. Results show that it plays an effective role in the optimization of layout of the flow meters and valves in WNP.
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