Managing urban water supplies in developing countries - Climate change and water scarcity scenarios

  • Vairavamoorthy K
  • Gorantiwar S
  • Pathirana A
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Abstract

Urban areas of developing countries are facing increasing water scarcity and it is possible that this problem may be further aggravated due to rapid changes in the hydro-environment at different scales, like those of climate and land-cover. Due to water scarcity and limitations to the development of new water resources, it is prudent to shift from the traditional 'supply based management' to a 'demand management' paradigm. Demand management focuses on measures that make better and more efficient use of limited supplies, often at a level significantly below standard service levels. This paper particularly focuses on the intermittent water supplies in the cities of developing countries. Intermittent water supplies need to be adopted due to water scarcity and if not planned properly, results in inequities in water deliveries to consumers and poor levels of service. It is therefore important to recognise these realities when designing and operating such networks. The standard tools available for design of water supply systems often assume a continuous, unlimited supply and the supplied water amount is limited only be the demand, making them unsuitable for designing intermittent supplies that are governed by severely limited water availability. This paper presents details of new guidelines developed for the design and control of intermittent water distribution systems in developing countries. These include a modified network analysis simulation coupled with an optimal design tool. The guidelines are driven by a modified set of design objectives to be met at least cost. These objectives are equity in supply and people driven levels of service (PDLS) expressed in terms of four design parameters namely, duration of the supply; timings of the supply; pressure at the outlet (or flow-rate at outlet); and others such as the type of connection required and the locations of connections (in particular for standpipes). All the four parameters are calculated using methods and techniques that recognise the relationship between outflow at a water connection and the pressure experienced at that connection. The paper presents a case study where it is demonstrated that the new guidelines can provide an equitable and acceptable level of service throughout the design horizon of the project. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Climate change
  • Demand management
  • Intermittent water supply
  • Urban water supply
  • Water resource scarcity

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