Like electric power lines, roads, and microwave radio networks, water systems may have a loop or branch network topology, or a combination of both.
Topologies of water distribution networks
Like electric power lines, roads, and microwave radio networks, water systems may have a loop or branch network topology, or a combination of both. The piping networks are circular or rectangular. If any one section of water distribution main fails or needs repair, that section can be isolated without disrupting all users on the network.
Most systems are divided into zones. Factors determining the extent or size of a zone can include hydraulics, telemetry systems, history, and population density. Sometimes systems are designed for a specific area then are modified to accommodate development. Terrain affects hydraulics and some forms of telemetry. While each zone may operate as a stand-alone system, there is usually some arrangement to interconnect zones in order to manage equipment failures or system failures.
Water network maintenance
Water supply networks usually represent the majority of assets of a water utility. Systematic documentation of maintenance works using a Computerized Maintenance Management System is a key to a successful operation of a water utility.
Water pipes are pipes or tubes, frequently made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC/uPVC), ductile iron, steel, cast iron, polypropylene, polyethylene, or copper, that carry pressurized and treated fresh water to buildings (as part of a municipal water system), as well as inside the building.
Pipe vs. tube
A plastic water pipe being installed. Note that the inner tube is actually transporting the water, while the outer tube only serves as a protective casing
The difference between pipe and tube is simply in the way it is sized. PVC pipe for plumbing applications and galvanized steel pipe for instance, are measured in IPS (iron pipe size). Copper tube, CPVC, PeX and other tubing is measured nominally, which is basically an average diameter. These sizing schemes allow for universal adaptation of transitional fittings. For instance, 1/2" PeX tubing is the same size as 1/2" copper tubing. 1/2" PVC on the other hand is not the same size as 1/2" tubing, and therefore requires either a threaded male or female adapter to connect them. When used in agricultural irrigation, the singular form "pipe" is often used as a plural.
Piping is available in rigid "joints", which come in various lengths depending on the material. Tubing, in particular copper, comes in rigid hard tempered "joints" or soft tempered (annealed) rolls. PeX and CPVC tubing also comes in rigid "joints" or flexible rolls. The temper of the copper, that is whether it is a rigid "joint" or flexible roll, does not affect the sizing.
The thicknesses of the water pipe and tube walls can vary. Pipe wall thickness is denoted by various schedules. Pipe wall thickness increases with schedule, and is available in schedules 20, 40, 80, and higher in special cases. The schedule is largely determined by the operating pressure of the system, with higher pressures commanding greater thickness. Copper tubing is available in four wall thicknesses: type DWV (thinnest wall; only allowed as drain pipe per UPC), type 'M' (thin; typically only allowed as drain pipe by IPC code), type 'L' (thicker, standard duty for water lines and water service), and type 'K' (thickest, typically used underground between the main and the meter). Because piping and tubing are commodities, having a greater wall thickness implies higher initial cost. Thicker walled pipe generally implies greater durability and higher pressure tolerances.
Wall thickness does not affect pipe or tubing size. 1/2" L copper has the same outer diameter as 1/2" K or M copper. The same applies to pipe schedules. As a result, a slight increase in pressure losses is realized due to a decrease in
flowpath as wall thickness is increased. In other words, 1 foot of 1/2" L copper has slightly less volume than 1 foot of 1/2 M copper.
Demand for copper products have fallen due to the dramatic increase in the price of copper, resulting in increased demand for alternative products including PEX and stainless steel.
Tap water (running water, city water, municipal water, etc.) is a principal component of "indoor plumbing", which became available in urban areas of the developed world during the last quarter of the 19th century, and common during the mid-20th century. The application of technologies involved in providing clean or "potable" water to homes, businesses and public buildings is a major subfield of sanitary engineering.
Potable water supply
This supply may come from several possible sources.
Municipal water supply
Delivered by truck
Processed water from creeks, streams, rivers, lakes, rainwater, etc.
Domestic water systems have been evolving since people first located their homes near a running water supply, e.g., a stream or river. The water flow also allowed sending waste water away from the domiciles.
Modern indoor plumbing delivers clean, safe, potable water to each service point in the distribution system. It is imperative that the clean water not be contaminated by the waste water (disposal) side of the process system. Historically, this contamination of drinking water has been the largest killer of humans.
Hot water supply
Domestic hot water is provided by means of water heater appliances, or through district heating. The hot water from these units is then piped to the various fixtures and appliances that require hot water, such as lavatories, sinks, bathtubs, showers, washing machines, and dishwashers.
Fixtures and appliances
Everything in a building that uses water falls under one of two categories; Fixture or Appliance. As the consumption points above perform their function, most produce waste/sewage components that will require removal by the waste/sewage side of the system. The minimum is an air gap. See cross connection control & backflow prevention for an overview of backflow prevention methods and devices currently in use, both through the use of mechanical and physical principles.
Fixtures are devices that use water without an additional source of power.