Urban Water Systems

This course aims to provide the participants with the ability to assess alternative modelling software systems, build safe and reliable models and know how to use them for planning, design, operation and maintenance of particular urban water systems.

For whom?

The course is designed for professionals (engineers and scientists) active in the water sector, especially those involved in using simulation models for water distribution, wastewater and storm water networks, treatment plants and the water quality of receiving streams. Participants will be familiar with planning, design, operation and maintenance of urban water systems. 


Pre-requisites are a basic knowledge of hydraulics, chemistry and systems analysis. Urban Drainage and Sewerage, Water distribution,  (recommended, but not essential).

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. Describe the processes that are necessary for analysis and planning of urban water systems.
  2. Explain the processes that are necessary for modelling, analysis and planning of water distribution systems.
  3. Give a detailed decription of the processes that are necessary for modelling, analysis and planning of sewerage and drainage systems.
  4. Explain in detail the processes that are necessary for the modelling, analysis and planning of wastewater treatment plants.
  5. Understand and evaluate the impacts of urban water systems on the receiving environment.
  6. Analyse an integrated urban water system and judge among different multifunctional measures

Course content

Safe and reliable models of urban water systems for the operation and management of such systems are of increasing importance in both developed and developing countries. The systems are becoming more and more complex, and there is growing need to treat them in an integrated manner. The choice of appropriate modelling systems is affected by what is available on the market or in the public domain, the validation of the software, the nature of the application, the problems involved and the decisions to be made, and the training and experience of the modeller(s).

This course offers an overview of the modelling process and the modelling systems available and currently in use for urban watersystems. Applications of the modelling systems are made to practical problems, such as improving the performance of systems, leakage control in water distribution networks, rehabilitation of sewerage networks, analysis of treatment works operation, and minimising the impact of sewerage overflows on receiving waters. Finally, the use of a range of supporting tools is discussed, illustrated with practical cases.

Topics covered include:

  • Water distribution network design and operation
  • Leakage control
  • Potable water demand management
  • Asset management
  • Wastewater collection networks
  • Storm water drainage systems
  • Combined sewerage networks
  • Urban flood management
  • Design and implementation of flow surveys
  • Inflow and infiltration
  • Rehabilitation of drainage assets
  • Primary, secondary and tertiary treatment methods
  • Activated sludge treatment
  • Real time operation of treatment works
  • Predicting performance of sewerage overflows
  • Receiving stream impact analysis
  • Availability of modelling systems
  • Selection of modelling system
  • Safe and reliable modelling
  • Integration with supporting tools

Through exercises participants will become familiar with at least one modelling software system for each urban water system. Visits will be made to organisations using such modelling systems.


It is possible to take part in the examination of this short course. If you obtain a passing mark for this examination and return to IHE Delft within four years after completion of the short course to follow a full MSc programme, you will receive exemption for this short course/module. The costs for this exam are €250 extra and should be borne by yourself. Taking part in the examination is not compulsory.


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