WaterROUTE: A model for cost optimization of industrial water supply networks when using water resources with varying salinity

Joeri Willet*, Koen Wetser, Jouke E. Dykstra, Alessio Belmondo Bianchi, Gualbert Oude Essink, Huub H.M. Rijnaarts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Water users can reduce their impact on scarce freshwater resources by using more abundant regional brackish or saline groundwater resources. Decentralized water supply networks (WSN) can connect these regional groundwater resources with water users. Here, we present WaterROUTE (Water Route Optimization Utility Tool & Evaluation), a model which optimizes water supply network configurations based on infrastructure investment costs while considering the water quality (salinity) requirements of the user. We present an example simulation in which we determine the optimal WSN for different values of the maximum allowed salinity at the demand location while supplying 2.5 million m3 year-1 with regional groundwater. The example simulation is based on data from Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, the Netherlands. The optimal WSN configurations for the years 2030, 2045 and 2110 are generated based on the simulated salinity of the regional groundwater resources. The simulation results show that small changes in the maximum salinity at the demand location have significant effects on the WSN configuration and therefore on regional planning. For the example simulation, the WSN costs can differ by up to 68% based on the required salinity at the demand site. WaterROUTE can be used to design water supply networks which incorporate alternative water supply sources such as local brackish groundwater (this study), effluent, or rainwater.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117390
JournalWater Research
Early online date28 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Alternative water sources
  • Groundwater
  • Industrial water use
  • Network optimization
  • Regional planning
  • Salinity
  • Water supply network


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