GIS Applications in the Water Industry

  • Adrian McDonald
  • Jim Foster
  • Andy Smith
  • Harriet Candy
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


The quantity and quality of national or regional water resources are highly variable over both space and time. Likewise, the demand for water is also highly variable. These characteristics present the water industry with several major challenges in the provision of an adequate service to its customers. In the UK, areas with the highest rainfall are the mountainous regions with the lowest population and therefore the lowest domestic and industrial water demand. Conversely, the areas of highest population are located in areas with the lowest rainfall. Water must therefore be collected and transported from the source areas to the areas of demand. In addition, the periods of highest demand, i.e. the summer months, coincide with the times of lowest effective rainfall. Consequently, water must be stored during the winter months in order to meet peaks in demand during the summer. The demand for water is also spatially distributed. Customers do not travel to a point of supply, as is the case with many goods. Instead, water companies must distribute their commodity directly to the homes of the consumer through a network of pipes. In addition to duties of treatment and supply, the water utilities are also charged with the collection and disposal of the resultant waste. The successful operation of the water industry, therefore, relies on the management of information, resources and assets that exist in a complex spatial context. Throughout both the supply and disposal chains, geographical influences dominate and present unique problems, which geographical information systems (GIS) can play a crucial role in helping to solve.


Sewage Sludge Geographical Information System Water Company Water Industry Catchment Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian McDonald
    • 1
  • Jim Foster
    • 1
  • Andy Smith
    • 2
  • Harriet Candy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of GeographyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.BinnieBlack and VeatchRedhill, SurreyUK

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