Optimal modelling and management of leakage in water distribution systems

University of Auckland

Auckland, , NZ


My research group has made a number of key contributions to the modelling of leakage from water supply pipes. We have characterized the way that leak areas vary with changes in pressure, showed that the current approach of modelling leakage with a power equation is flawed, and developed a stochastic leakage modelling tool and a more accurate leakage modelling approach. These tools allow the behavior of distribution systems with different levels of leakage to be explored and the optimal design and operation to be more accurately determined. The aim of this project will be to apply the new leakage modelling tools to a range of practical modelling and optimization problems to show how more accurate leakage modelling can make these solutions better and more robust. The work will be done in collaboration with Watercare, the water and wastewater supplier for Auckland.

What we are looking for in a successful applicant

A self-driven and enthusiastic student with a background in civil engineering and an excellent academic record. Programming skills and experience are higly recommended.


The objectives of this project will be to apply the latest understanding of leakage behaviour for more accurate modelling and optimisation of water networks. The exact objectives for the project will be determined with the candidate and Watercare, and may include the following:

  • Optimal design of district metered areas (DMAs), including the potential for dynamic DMAs.
  • Optimal pressure management strategies.
  • Automatic nightly pressure variations using a pressure reducing valve to characterise system condition and identify new leaks.