Pipe network analysis with open source software: PVnet and EPANET

Submitted by Nicola Rainiero on 2015-05-03 (last updated on 2016-08-23)

Recently I have read that a local municipality has finally unblocked an old urban regeneration project in which I worked for many aspects. One of these was the pipe network analysis for that disused area. Fortunately I used PVnet and the job was simple. In this article I introduce this open source software and EPANET2, because its computational engine is used by the first one and it is more complete and powerful. Besides I show you that they can be installed in a Linux system using Wine. 

Sometimes the engineers in Italy must design the so called structures of primary urbanization (namely streets, sewers, lights and water supply networks), even for little parcelling plans. In my case a PUA1 project for requalification of a disused area in Rovigo city.

Well, for the water supply network I designed the pipe network for that area inserting it in the existing main system with the local pressure calculated by the Integrated urban water management and computing headlosses for the new pipes and of course for the new user needs. Revision by revision the destinations of parcels have been changed, so I had to recompute the network many times. PVnet has simplified my job!

Pipe network analysis with open source software: EPANET and PVNET

PVnet 1.0

PVnet is licensed under  GPL-2 (General Public License) and it allows to design a water supply system through the linear programming. The program was developed by the hydraulics laboratory of Pavia University for the master thesis of Antonio Martino. It implements the Ciaponi and Papiri procedure that calculates a network optimally using only two application of the linear programming. It can work efficiently even for big networks with large complexity and extension. The software permits to calculate: ramified networks, loop or branch networks, or a combination of them.

You can download it directly from the Engineering Faculty of Pavia University repository. And below there are some screenshots of the Wine installation under Ubuntu 14.04.

  • The English language is available only for the installation process
    English is available only for the installation
  • Welcome message
    Welcome message
  • License Agreement
    License Agreement
  • Where do you want to install PVnet?
    Where do you want to install PVnet?
  • Which components should be installed?
    Which components should be installed?
  • Where should Setup place the program's shortcuts?
    Where should Setup place the program's shortcuts?
  • Which additional tasks should be performed?
    Which additional tasks should be performed?
  • Ready to install
    Ready to install
  • Click Finish to exit Setup
    Click Finish to exit Setup.

In addition, I put some screenshots about the working of PVnet:

  • After launching the software
    After launching the software
  • You can load and save your network
    You can load and save your network 
  • You can design and/or verify your project
    You can design and/or verify your project
  • The results in the nodes
    The results in the nodes
  • The results in the branches
    The results in the branches
  • You can export the results for a report
    You can export the results for a report

EPANET 2.0

EPANET is a public-domain, water distribution system modeling software package developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Water Supply and Water Resources Division. It performs extended-period simulation of hydraulic and water-quality behavior within pressurized pipe networks. Its computational engine is used by many software companies that developed more powerful, proprietary packages, often GIS-centric. The EPANET ".inp" input file format, which represents network topology, water consumption, and control rules, is supported by many free and commercial modeling packages. Therefore, it is arguably considered as the industry standard2.

You can download it directly from the EPANET home page. And below there are some screenshots of the Wine installation under Ubuntu 14.04. There is a EPANET on Linux page with these instructions:

sudo apt-get install wine
wget http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/wswrd/dw/epanet/EN2setup.exe
wine EN2setup.exe

But it doesn't work, I used instead the more recent executable (EPANET for Windows 7 and 8).

  • It is available in 2 languages: English and Deutsch
    It is available in 2 languages: English and Deutsch
  • Welcome message
    Welcome message
  • License Agreement
    License Agreement
  • Choose Install Location
    Choose Install Location
  • Chose Start Menu Folder
    Chose Start Menu Folder
  • Installation Complete
    Installation Complete
  • Click Finish to close Setup
    Click Finish to close Setup
  • A screenshot of the working program
    A screenshot of the working program
  • 1. PUA is the acronym of Piano Urbanistico Attuativo that can be translated in Actuative Urbanistic Plan. This is a detailed urbanistic tool for implementing the new urbanization interventions and requalification.
  • 2. Wikipedia contributors. "EPANET" Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 Jan. 2015. Web. 2 May. 2015.



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Nicola Rainiero

A civil geotechnical engineer with the ambition to facilitate own work with free software for a knowledge and collective sharing. Also, I deal with green energy and in particular shallow geothermal energy. I have always been involved in web design and 3D modelling.

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