Water Distribution Systems Security Modeling

Avi Ostfeld (D.Sc., P.E., D.WRE)

Avi Ostfeld is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management Division, ASCE. Dr. Ostfeld was a Senior Engineer and Project Manager at TAHAL – Consulting Engineers Ltd. in Tel – Aviv from 1997 to 2000; a Research Associate at the Department of Civil Engineering, the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, from 1996 to 1997; and a Research Associate at the Technion Water Research Institute from 1994 to 1996. During 2008/2009 he spent sabbaticals as Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and at the University of Kyoto. Dr. Ostfeld research activities are in the fields of water resources systems, hydrology, and in particular in the area of water distribution systems optimization using evolutionary computation: water distribution systems security, optimal design and operation of water distribution systems, and integrating water quality and reliability into water distribution systems management and control.

Water Distribution Systems Security Modeling

Avi Ostfeld
Associate Professor, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, ISRAEL
PH: +972-4-8292782; +972-50-7726139; FAX: 972-4-8228898;
E-mail: ostfeld@tx.technion.ac.il
Web page: www.technion.ac.il/~avi/avi.htm


Since the events of 9/11 2001 in the US the world public awareness to possible terrorist attacks on water supply systems has increased dramatically, causing the security of drinking water distribution systems to become a major concern around the globe.

Among the different threats a deliberate chemical or biological contaminant injection is the most difficult to address, both because of the uncertainty of the type of the injected contaminant and its consequences, and as of the uncertainty of the location and injection time. In principle, a contaminant can be injected at any water distribution system connection (node) using a pump or a mobile pressurized tank. Although backflow preventers provide an obstacle to such actions, they do not exist at all connections, and at some might not be functional.

An online contaminant monitoring network is considered the major mean to reduce the impacts of a deliberate contaminant chemical or biological intrusion. Such a system should be designed to detect random contamination events and to provide information on the location of the contaminants within the system, including an estimation of the injection characteristics (i.e., contaminant type, injection time and duration, concentration, and injected mass flow rate). Once the type of the contaminant and its characteristics are revealed, a containment strategy can be implemented to minimize the pollutant spread throughout the system, and to suggest for the system’s portions which need to be flushed.

This talk reviews the studies of the author and his research group on this topic (www.technion.ac.il/~avi/avi.htm, PDF files password: timna), the state of the art on drinking water distribution systems security modeling, and points out new challenges in this area.

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