Different types of water distribution system layouts

There are generally four types of water distribution system layouts used. The brief description and their advantages and disadvantages are discussed in this article.

water distribution system - dead end or tree1. Dead end or Tree system :

This system is generally adopted for cities or town where irregular development has occurred. The water flows only in one direction and pipe diameter is getting reduced at every tree branch.

Advantages :

  1. Easy calculation for system design e.g. pressure and discharge at any given point
  2. Less numbers of valves require for system to run and maintain.
  3. Pipes used are of lesser diameters compared with other system hence economical.
  4. Laying of pipes are easy

Disadvantages :

  1. In this system number of dead ends are more and water is stagnant at dead ends resulting in chances of contamination.
  2. Valves are located at junction of tress branches hence during repair an maintenance entire down stream is cut off.

water distribution system layout grid-iron-methodGrid Iron system :

From the mains water enters the branches at all Junctions in either directions into sub mains of equal diameters. At any point in the line the pressure is balanced from two directions because of interconnected network of pipes.


  1. In case of maintenance or repairs only small portion of water line get affected.
  2. water circulates from two direction with high pressure at every point.
  3. Due to water circulation chances of contaminations are less.

Disadvantages :

  1. More cost involved due to more numbers of valves and increased pipeline.
  2. Difficulty and complication pressure calculation for size of pipes and working pressure for given point.


 water distribution system layout circular-ring-systemCircular or Ring System :

Supply to the inner pipes is from the mains around the boundary. It has the same advantages as the grid-Iron system. Smaller diameter pipes are needed. The advantages and disadvantages are same as that of grid-Iron system.

water distribution system layout radial-ring systemRadial System :

This is a zoned system. Water is pumped to the distribution reservoirs and from the reservoirs it flows by gravity to the tree system of pipes. The pressure calculations are easy in this system. Layout of roads need to be radial to eliminate loss of head in bends. This is most economical system also if combined pumping and gravity flow is adopted.