Optimizing the layout and design of branched pipeline water distribution systems

Raul P. Lejano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Branched distribution systems are found in a large number of situations, including rural irrigation, reclaimed water distribution, and effluent disposal. Much research has been developed around optimizing pipeline design assuming a predetermined geographical layout of the distribution system. There has been less work done, however, on the problem of optimizing the configuration of the network itself, which is a particularly crucial issue in lower-income areas where the need for cost-effective irrigation systems is greatest. Generally, engineers develop the basic layout through experience and sheer intuition. In this paper, a method is developed for determining an optimal layout for a branched distribution system given only the spatial distribution of potential customers and their respective demands. The technique utilizes a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) algorithm to optimize an empirically derived objective function. The method is tailored for practical application and allows the decision maker to simultaneously solve for the optimal customer/user base and pipeline layout. The method is illustrated with a simple example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-137
Number of pages13
JournalIrrigation and Drainage Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Benefit maximization
  • Branched pipeline systems
  • Irrigation
  • Optimization
  • Water distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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