Probabilistic leak detectability assessment via state estimation in water transport networks Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2018

start page

  • 2111

end page

  • 2128


  • 7


  • 32

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1436-3240

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1436-3259


  • Leak detectability or leakage awareness refers to the capability of sensing losses from a water supply system. Several methods exist in the technical literature to tackle this problem, but only few address it with a state estimation approach. The aim of this paper is to present a new methodology that enables probabilistic assessment of the extent to which water loss could be detected using state estimation by only analysing a single hydraulic state, i.e. one time period. Significant leaks are sensed by identifying unusually high normalised state estimation residuals, which can be identified based on the largest normalised residual test. More specifically, the probability of detecting leaks is computed here by working with the multivariate distribution among measurements and estimates to take into account the noisy nature of measurements with an analytical approach rather than with sampling experiments, which are time-consuming. The methodology set out herein also provides a procedure to systematically assess the minimum leak that could be detected in different parts of the network for a specific measurement setting and operating condition. The method has been applied to a water transport network case study to show its potential and to highlight the usefulness of such a tool for practitioners. The limitations of such a methodology are also discussed, including its possible use for on-line leak detection strategies.


  • bad data analysis; leakage awareness; state estimation