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Open AccessArticle

Complex Networks Theory for Evaluating Scaling Laws and WDS Vulnerability for Potential Contamination Events

Polytechnic Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
Water 2020, 12(5), 1296;
Received: 30 March 2020 / Revised: 19 April 2020 / Accepted: 30 April 2020 / Published: 3 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Management: A Pragmatic Approach)
In the last few years, water utilities have recognized the importance of evaluating the safety of water distribution networks from the potential risks of contamination, arising from failures or from intentional (targeted) or random attacks. Research literature has been recently focused on the optimal design of efficient detection systems, generally expressed as the problem of the optimal placement of monitoring sensors. In this paper, we introduce a methodology for calculating an index of vulnerability that represents the tendency of an injected contaminant to spread over the network. Epanet quality simulations are performed in order to determine the distribution function of the number of potentially contaminated nodes. The results show how such distribution is overall fitted by a stretched exponential law. The comparison with an auto-similar, tree-like network (described by a power-law) allows the determination of the Vulnerability Index, which quantifies how “far” the behavior of a given system deviates from pure scale-freeness. It is analytically calculated by a two-fold approximation of the stretched exponential and provides an alternative way of evaluating robustness against random water contamination. Different networks can then be directly compared, in order to assess and prioritize control measures and interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: water safety plan; scale-free; degree distribution; source tracing water safety plan; scale-free; degree distribution; source tracing
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Nicolini, M. Complex Networks Theory for Evaluating Scaling Laws and WDS Vulnerability for Potential Contamination Events. Water 2020, 12, 1296.

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