Abstract

Prior work investigated the use of biological food webs as a source of quantitative guidance to balance the efficiency and redundancy in industrial water distribution networks. Urban water distribution networks, however, present unique challenges that prevent a direct replication of the bio-inspired methods used for industrial network settings. Many of the benefits bio-inspiration can impart on human networks, including resilience-related improvements, makes use of reuse- and recycling-related pathways — maximizing the use of all available value in the network. This work looks at the application of bio-inspiration to urban water network settings, modeling these networks to include local wastewater treatment options and testing actor aggregation options to best fit the ecosystem analogy. The results suggest that biological ecosystems do in fact have characteristics that can be beneficial to urban water distribution, but a change of system boundaries is required to recognize their potential.

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