The battle of the water sensor networks (BWSN): A design challenge for engineers and algorithms

Avi Ostfeld, James G. Über, Elad Salomons, Jonathan W. Berry, William E. Hart, Cindy A. Phillips, Jean Paul Watson, Gianluca Dorini, Philip Jonkergouw, Zoran Kapelan, Francesco di Pierro, Soon Thiam Khu, Dragan Savic, Demetrios Eliades, Marios Polycarpou, Santosh R. Ghimire, Brian D. Barkdoll, Roberto Gueli, Jinhui J. Huang, Edward A. McBeanWilliam James, Andreas Krause, Jure Leskovec, Shannon Isovitsch, Jianhua Xu, Carlos Guestrin, Jeanne VanBriesen, Mitchell Small, Paul Fischbeck, Ami Preis, Marco Propato, Olivier Piller, Gary B. Trachtman, Zheng Yi Wu, Tom Walski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Following the events of September 11, 2001, in the United States, world public awareness for possible terrorist attacks on water supply systems has increased dramatically. Among the different threats for a water distribution system, the most difficult to address is a deliberate chemical or biological contaminant injection, due to both the uncertainty of the type of injected contaminant and its consequences, and the uncertainty of the time and location of the injection. An online contaminant monitoring system is considered as a major opportunity to protect against the impacts of a deliberate contaminant intrusion. However, although optimization models and solution algorithms have been developed for locating sensors, little is known about how these design algorithms compare to the efforts of human designers, and thus, the advantages they propose for practical design of sensor networks. To explore these issues, the Battle of the Water Sensor Networks (BWSN) was undertaken as part of the 8th Annual Water Distribution Systems Analysis Symposium, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 27-29, 2006. This paper summarizes the outcome of the BWSN effort and suggests future directions for water sensor networks research and implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-568
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management - ASCE
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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