The Importance of Water Distribution Systems for Site Engineering

MFS ENG Feb 22

In the world of engineering—whether you’re working on a commercial, residential, or agricultural project—one of the first considerations must be water accessibility. If there’s an inadequate, onsite water supply, then it’ll need to be delivered via a water distribution system.

Today, we’ll discuss the types of systems available and how these technologies can be used to help ensure easy access to water of appropriate quantity, quality, and pressure.

What Are Water Distribution Systems and Why Do They Matter?

A water distribution system is a sub-component of a water supply system. This typically comprises three facets that must work in harmony:

  1. A raw water source
  2. A water treatment or production plant
  3. A distribution system

The end goal of almost any water distribution system is to transport, distribute, and supply water from point A to point Z—from its source to the point(s) of usage. According to International Water Association (IWA):

“Water distribution systems comprise, essentially, reservoirs, pipes, pumps, and valves. These need to be properly designed and optimized so that they can function adequately, delivering the required water volumes to consumers.”

These systems mustn’t only be capable of distributing water efficiently, they also need to be reliable—robust enough to weather time, the elements, and other forces. And for that to occur, engineering teams must carefully plan the design, operation, and proper maintenance.

Improper planning could result in dire consequences, including:

  • Unsafe and impure drinking water
  • The development of waterborne and water-based diseases
  • Plumbing and sewer issues
  • Site/project shutdowns
  • Civil and criminal legal suits

What Does a Good Distribution System Look Like?

There are some basic requirements for a water system to be considered functional. They include:

  • Water quality should not be negatively impacted by the pipe network
  • It must be able to supply water to all intended locations with sufficient pressure
  • It should be water-tight to prevent leakage and loss
  • Water should remain accessible to every consumer, even during a repair of a section of the system
  • It should be capable of supplying the necessary water and pressure for firefighting activities

Water Distribution System Layouts

Generally speaking, there are four types of pipe network layouts. Depending on the site and the water supply system, these may be used in isolation or in combinations. They include:

  1. Grid Iron System – Ideal for cities with a rectangular metropolis grid. In this case, the water mains and branches are laid out in rectangular layouts.
  2. Ring system – The entire supply main is located along peripheral roads with sub mains branching out from the central location. It follows the structure of a grid iron system but with a flow pattern that’s more akin to a dead-end system.
  3. Radial system – A grid is divided into zones. Water is pumped into a reservoir situated in the middle of each zone, with supply pipes radially leading to the periphery.
  4. Dead end system – This type of system is meant for older towns and cities that were built without a specific road pattern.

MFS Engineering—Plan Your Next Project with Ease

Selecting and connecting the water distribution system for any job site is a prerequisite for a successful end product. Failure to properly plan and execute could result in delays and additional expenses, not to mention it could potentially embroil you in legal battles.

At MFS engineering, we can help with water-related projects, whether it’s land surveying, structural engineering, or construction management.

Want to learn more? Reach out today!