Online Course on Water Transport and Distribution

IHE Delft Water Transport and Distribution

Target Audience

The course predominantly targets mid-career professionals dealing with technical aspects of drinking water transport and distribution, working for water supply companies, municipal assemblies or consulting bureaus. The prerequisites include a BSc degree in Civil Engineering or similar technical background, general PC-computer knowledge (word processing, spreadsheets) and good English command.


This online course introduces the basics of planning, hydraulic- and engineering design, construction, operation & maintenance of water transport and distribution systems. The course is however designed to start from scratch on hydraulics and other technical aspects and is as such, in theory, also suitable for ‘softer’ professional backgrounds where multidisciplinary work in teams would be taking place as a follow-up; for instance, for rural WATSAN experts working for NGOs.

Course content

The course is designed with total study load of 140 hours, spread over a period of roughly 18 weeks assuming the average workload of 8 hours (= 1 day) per week. The contents are summarised in two main subjects with the following syllabus:

1. Introduction to Water Transport and Distribution:

  • Main objectives and components of WTD systems;
  • Water demand categories, patterns, calculation and forecasting;
  • Steady-state hydraulics of pressurised flows, single pipe calculation, branched and looped networks,  pressure driven demand;
  • Hydraulics of storage and pumps;
  • Hydraulic design: choice of supply scheme, network layouts, design of pumping stations, power requirements and energy consumption;
  • Engineering design: choice of pipe materials, valves and other equipment;
  • Network construction: pipe laying, testing and disinfection;
  • Operation & maintenance: regular & irregular supply, network cleaning and rehabilitation.

2. Water Loss Management and Control:

  • Definition of non-revenue water and IWA terminology used in the sector;
  • Components of water losses, methods of reducing and controlling real- and apparent network losses;
  • Quantification of leakage in distribution systems, leak location and repair techniques, pressure management.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:

  • distinguish between different network configurations and supplying schemes; recognise various consumption categories and their growth patterns, including water leakage; define the relation between the main hydraulic parameters
  • demonstrate understanding of the steady-state hydraulics by being able to select appropriate pipe diameters, indicate optimum location of reservoirs and identify pumps capable to supply the demand;
  • apply the above theoretical knowledge by learning to perform computer-aided hydraulic calculations and predict the consequences of demand growth on the hydraulic performance of particular WTD system
  • propose preliminary hydraulic design that will integrate economic aspects, choose adequate components, and judge technical solutions dealing with the network maintenance, rehabilitation, and expansion;
  • distinguish between the main components of non-revenue water and methods of leakage assessment, survey, detection and control;