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Water Quality Failures in Distribution Networks—Risk Analysis Using Fuzzy Logic and Evidential Reasoning

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The evaluation of the risk of water quality failures in a distribution network is a challenging task given that much of the available data are highly uncertain and vague, and many of the mechanisms are not fully understood. Consequently, a systematic approach is required to handle quantitative-qualitative data as well as a means to update existing information when new knowledge and data become available. Five general pathways (mechanisms) through which a water quality failure can occur in the distribution network are identified in this article. These include contaminant intrusion, leaching and corrosion, biofilm formation and microbial regrowth, permeation, and water treatment breakthrough (including disinfection byproducts formation). The proposed methodology is demonstrated using a simplified example for water quality failures in a distribution network. This article builds upon the previous developments of aggregative risk analysis approach. Each basic risk item in a hierarchical framework is expressed by a triangular fuzzy number, which is derived from the composition of the likelihood of a failure event and the associated failure consequence. An analytic hierarchy process is used to estimate weights required for grouping noncommensurate risk sources. The evidential reasoning is proposed to incorporate newly arrived data for the updating of existing risk estimates. The exponential ordered weighted averaging operators are used for defuzzification to incorporate attitudinal dimension for risk management. It is envisaged that the proposed approach could serve as a basis to benchmark acceptable risks in water distribution networks.

Keywords: Analytic hierarchy process; distribution networks; evidential reasoning; exponential ordered weighted average operators; fuzzy logic; water quality

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-10-01

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