Anticipating water distribution service outages from increasing temperatures

Emily N. Bondank, Mikhail V. Chester, Austin Michne, Nasir Ahmad, Benjamin L. Ruddell, Nathan G. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


With projected temperature increases and extreme events due to climate change for many regions of the world, characterizing the impacts of these emerging hazards on water distribution systems is necessary to identify and prioritize adaptation strategies for ensuring reliability. To aid decision-making, new insights are needed into how water distribution system reliability to climate-driven heat will change, and the proactive maintenance strategies available to combat failures. To this end, we present the model Perses, a framework that joins a water distribution network hydraulic solver with reliability models of physical assets or components to estimate temperature increase-driven failures and resulting service outages in the long term. A theoretical case study is developed using Phoenix, Arizona temperature profiles, a city with extreme temperatures and a rapidly expanding infrastructure. By end-of-century under hotter futures there are projected to be 1%-5% more pump failures, 2%-5% more PVC pipe failures, and 3%-7% more iron pipe failures (RCP 4.5-8.5) than a baseline historical temperature profile. Service outages, which constitute inadequate pressure for domestic and commercial use are projected to increase by 16%-26% above the baseline under maximum temperature conditions. The exceedance of baseline failures, when compounded across a large metro region, reveals potential challenges for budgeting, management, and maintenance. An exploration of the mitigation potential of adaptation strategies shows that expedited repair times are capable of offsetting the additional outages from climate change, but will come with a cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045002
JournalEnvironmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • climate change
  • heat and temperature
  • infrastructure
  • reliability, risk, and resilience
  • water distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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