For more than a billion people around the world, running water comes from “intermittent systems” that turn on and off at various times of the week.
For more than a billion people around the world, running water comes from “intermittent systems” that turn on and off at various times of the week. A new paper by Professor David Taylor(CivMin, CGEN) proposes a simple, yet powerful model to explain why and how these systems come to be — and how they fit into the global challenge of meeting international targets for human development and safe drinking water.
The idea of an intermittent water system may seem strange to engineers from developed countries. Constantly filling and emptying pipes puts a lot of stress on the system due to fluctuations in pressure. It also opens the door to contamination: rainwater or sewage can leak into empty pipes more easily than full ones.
But Taylor believes there may be benefits to intermittent systems as well as drawbacks. “One obvious example is that a pipe can’t leak if there is no water in it,” he says. “If you have no budget for repairs, turning off the taps at night when nobody is using them is a very effective way to stop losing water to leaks, at least in the short run.”
Read more at the University of Toronto