Water distribution networks (WDNs) comprise a complex network of pipes and are crucial for providing potable water to urban communities. Therefore, WDNs must be carefully managed to avoid problems such as water contamination and service failures; however, this requires a large budget. Because WDN components have different statuses depending on their installation year, location, transmission pressure, and flow rate, it is difficult to plan the rehabilitation schedule within budgetary constraints. This study, therefore, proposes a new pipe replacement scheduling approach to smooth the investment time series based on a life cycle cost (LCC) assessment for a large-scale WDN. The proposed scheduling plan simultaneously considers both the annual budget limitation and the optimum expenditure on the useful life of pipes. A multi-objective optimization problem consisting of three decision-making objectives—minimum imposed LCC on the network, minimum standard deviation of annual investment, and minimum average age of the network—is thus solved using a nondominated sorting genetic algorithm to obtain an optimal plan. Three scenarios with different pipe replacement time spans and different annual budget constraints are considered accordingly. The results indicate that the proposed scheduling framework provides an efficient water pipe replacement scheduling plan with a smooth management budget.
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