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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 947961, 25 pages
Research Article

On the Complexities of the Design of Water Distribution Networks

1FluIng-IMM, Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino Vera s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain
23S Consult Büro Karlsruhe, Albtalstrasse 13D, 76137 Karlsruhe, Germany
3Universidad de Extremadura, Avda. Universidad, s/n, 10071 Cáceres, Spain

Received 10 July 2011; Accepted 13 September 2011

Academic Editor: Zidong Wang

Copyright © 2012 Joaquín Izquierdo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Water supply is one of the most recognizable and important public services contributing to quality of life. Water distribution networks (WDNs) are extremely complex assets. A number of complex tasks, such as design, planning, operation, maintenance, and management, are inherently associated with such networks. In this paper, we focus on the design of a WDN, which is a wide and open problem in hydraulic engineering. This problem is a large-scale combinatorial, nonlinear, nonconvex, multiobjective optimization problem, involving various types of decision variables and many complex implicit constraints. To handle this problem, we provide a synergetic association between swarm intelligence and multiagent systems where human interaction is also enabled. This results in a powerful collaborative system for finding solutions to such a complex hydraulic engineering problem. All the ingredients have been integrated into a software tool that has also been shown to efficiently solve problems from other engineering fields.