Hydraulic and water quality modeling of water distribution systems



EPANET is software that models water distribution piping systems. It performs extended period simulation (EPS) of the water movement and quality behavior within pressurized pipe networks.

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Pipe networks consist of pipes, nodes (junctions), pumps, valves, and storage tanks or reservoirs. EPANET tracks:

  • the flow of water in each pipe,
  • the pressure at each node,
  • the height of the water in each tank, and
  • the type of chemical concentration throughout the network during a simulation period,
  • water age,
  • source, and
  • tracing.


EPANET's Windows user interface provides a visual network editor that simplifies the process of building piping network models and editing their properties and data. EPANET provides an integrated computer environment for editing input data. Various data reporting and visualization tools are used to assist in interpreting the results of a network analysis. These include:

  • color-coded network maps,
  • data tables,
  • energy usage,
  • reaction,
  • calibration
  • time series graphs,
  • profile plots
  • contour plots.

EPANET provides a fully equipped, extended-period hydraulic analysis package that can:

  • Simulate systems of any size
  • Compute friction head loss using the Hazen-Williams, the Darcy Weisbach, or the Chezy-Manning formula
  • Include minor head losses for bends, fittings, etc.
  • Model constant or variable speed pumps
  • Compute pumping energy and cost
  • Model various types of valves, including shutoff, check, pressure regulating, and flow control
  • Account for any shape storage tanks (i.e., surface area can vary with height)
  • Consider multiple demand categories at nodes, each with its own pattern of time variation
  • Model pressure-dependent flow issuing from sprinkler heads
  • Base system operation on simple tank level, timer controls or complex rule-based controls

In addition, EPANET's water quality analyzer can:

  • Model the movement of a non-reactive tracer material through the network over time
  • Model the movement and fate of a reactive material as it grows (e.g., a disinfection by-product) or decays (e.g., chlorine residual) over time
  • Model the age of water throughout a network
  • Track the percent of flow from a given node reaching all other nodes over time
  • Model reactions both in the bulk flow and at the pipe wall
  • Allow growth or decay reactions to proceed up to a limiting concentration
  • Employ global reaction rate coefficients that can be modified on a pipe-by-pipe basis
  • Allow for time-varying concentration or mass inputs at any location in the network
  • Model storage tanks as being complete mix, plug flow, or two-compartment reactors


EPANET helps water utilities maintain and improve the quality of water delivered to consumers. It can be used to:

  • design sampling programs,
  • study disinfectant loss and by-product formation,
  • conduct consumer exposure assessments,
  • evaluate alternative strategies for improving water quality, such as altering source use within multi-source systems,
  • modify pumping and tank filling/emptying schedules to reduce water age,
  • use booster disinfection stations at key locations to maintain target residuals, and
  • plan cost-effective programs of targeted pipe cleaning and replacement.
  • plan and improve a system's hydraulic performance,
  • assist with pipe, pump, and valve placement and sizing,
  • energy minimization,
  • fire flow analysis,
  • vulnerability studies, and
  • operator training.


Join our water modeling community at http://forums.innovyze.com/. Our Users Forum allows you to ask questions and exchange information.



The following EPANET files may be freely downloaded, copied, and distributed.

  File Description
  Self-extracting installation program for EPANET 2.00.12 (EXE) (1.5 MB)
  EPANET 2 Users Manual (PDF) (200 pp, 1 MB)
  List of EPANET 2 updates and bug fixes (TXT) (22 KB)

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