The problem of apparent water losses within urban drinking-water distribution systems (UDWDS) is exacerbated in water-scarce countries, including Cyprus. Previous work has been instrumental in formulating predictive models of pipe failure (breakage and leaking) as a means to minimize water losses in UDWDS. Pipe repairs due to deterioration/failure show a peak in frequency during end of Spring and Summer. Similarly, data in international literature suggest summer peaks for disinfection by-products (DBP) in potable water, reaching home taps. Furthermore, Cypriot consumers typically complain to water boards for chlorine-related smells, deterring them from using tap water for potable purposes; Complaints peak in summer when authorities increase disinfectant dose as safety precaution against fears of waterborne diseases, often leading to chlorine smell-related complaints. Factors explaining seasonal and spatial variability of DBP formation and pipe repairs are expected to be numerous, but still remain unresolved; we hypothesized that pipe leaking incidences along with pipe characteristics of aging UDWDS could enhance DBP formation to higher levels than simply chlorine residence time could explain. Never before a spatially-, and temporally-resolved network of monitoring traditional (trihalomethanes) and emerging DBP has been attempted. Such increased resolution in data acquisition will enable us matching the flowing water chemistry (DBP) with the corresponding pipe segment characteristics data via their integration in an artificial neural network with GIS capabilities. The Urban DBP project has just finished activities for the first year of operations, which are extensively described in this interim report. We confidently state that we are satisfied with the project’s progress, proceeding smoothly and on-time according to procedures and guidelines of the Research Promotion Foundation (RPF). We have already had three project meetings, two in Limassol (premises of Cyprus University of Technology-CUT) on 16/03/2012 and 12/02/2013 and one progress meeting in Nicosia (Water Board of Nicosia offices) on 26/06/2012. The fourth project meeting will be held at Herakleion, Crete (University of Crete-UOC) during the summer of 2013. The Water Board of Nicosia (WBN) has been extremely helpful by providing us with historic data on pipe leaking incidences along with other pipe characteristics. After a hierarchical optimization scheme using the pipe characteristic data given by WBN, we selected two areas of Nicosia that were characterized by a high and a low risk for formation of disinfection by-products in drinking-water (DBP). A total of 193 households in both areas has been recruited and approximately 400 volunteers from these households participate via urine sampling and administration of a relevant water consumption questionnaire. The summer collection of samples has finished and the winter sample collection is ongoing in the same two areas. The household visits for sampling in Nicosia were approved by the Cyprus National Bioethics Committee and RPF was accordingly notified before our application was submitted to Bioethics (Appendix).
Drinking-water distribution system