Water Distribution Problem Analysis

History of Spain Water supply

Spain has a good water supply system. Water is a universal commodity in the country and almost all households have access to clean and reliable water. Most state departments including health care systems and the fire department can effectively carry out their activities from the abundant water supply. However, private water companies are the leaders in water supply serving approximately 60% of the population. Spain is among the first nations to create the river basin agency in 1926 and 35 years later, river basins were established in almost all zones of the country. The water supply system now effectively serves the entire Spanish population (Alegre 98).

Source of Water, Usage and Treatment

The southern part of Spain is prone to droughts. Initial water supply was obtained from the Ebro River which was on the Southern part of the country then supplied to cities at the coast. With successive governments in place, new plans have been hatched to supply water from seawater. Nevertheless about 74% of the Spanish water supply system is served by surface water, 19% by underground water and 7% by springs. Most of the water is treated by desalination and reverse osmosis. The water use averages 171 liters per day for one Spanish citizen translating to 62,415 liters annually. Most of the water is used for industrial purposes and household while 20% of treated waste water is used primarily for irrigation and landscaping (Alegre 99).


To sustain water pressure, the country uses various water pumps in most cities. However, water towers are quite common in Spain to supplement the pressure of provided by water pumps. These water towers are usually activated when there is a power outage. The water towers are designed to supply water for a day and can hold up to 30,000 gallons of water (Alegre 99).

Piping and Standards of Installation

Most of the houses built in the 1950s had their supply of water from lead pipes. However, lead was replaced by asbestos piping systems and PVC piping systems. Other piping systems used in the country are concrete pipes and seamless stainless steal pipes. Their applicability varies from city to city. The standards of piping also conform to VDI [5] standards (Hirst 45)

Type of Hydrants, Placement, Number

Spain uses the wet barrel hydrants which are connected to the water source under high pressure. They are usually found in all major cities in the country except in the Southern part of the country which uses dry barrels because of drought weather conditions. Hydrants are placed approximately 550ft apart in highly populated areas. On average, each industrial area of Spain’s 24 cities has a hydrant (Alegre 101).

Piping Layout

The country has an even layout of the piping system in highly populated zones. The use of lead pipes is however maintained because of prevention of theft cases. Major industrial buildings are supplied with water pipes. The water pipes are then connected to the hydrants. However, some of these hydrants are not in a correctly functioning state. Leaks are also common within the piping layout of the city. Plans are also ripe to increase the water piping network. For example Barcelona is currently undertaking a massive 300 kilometer water piping project in the city to increase the water flow (Alegre 101).

Copies of Hydrant Testing Data from ISO Reports

Hydrant testing carried out in conformance with the ISO standards are meant to analyze improvements, deteriorations, use of water and maintenance initiatives undertaken by the fire department services. The tests are meant to uncover the flow of fire and the mechanical technicalities that might be posed from the valves (Wieder 78). Spain fire department records established hydrant valves had mechanical problems leading to leaks and poor effectiveness of the hydrants. The fire department however repaired this malfunction before any emergency arose.

The instruments used in the fire department conformed to various ISO standards. The tool descriptions were 1-200 P.S.I for pressure gauges, 2.5” for garden horse reducing caps, 4.5”- 2.5” for reducing caps. The fire department’s gauges of 0-30 P.S.I and 0-100 P.S.I. also conformed to correct ISO specifications. Other standard equipments used by the Spain’s fire department included adjustable hydrant spanners, diffuser baskets and hydrant socks. The hydrant socks were rubber lined and attached to the flow tube for the main function of diverting water away from areas deemed sensitive.

Hydrants were observed to use chlorinated water which if mixed with chloramines could be potentially harmful if the hydrants discharged water into environmentally strategic zones. The fire department was however certified because it used treatment tablets to diffuse the potential harm of chlorine therefore rendering it harmless. The fire equipments conformed to the following ISO specifications: BS EN 1866-1: 2007, BS 6165: 2002 and BS EN 3-8: 2006. The hydrants also conformed to the following standards: CEN/TS 13547:2006 for industrial valves, EN 1074-1:2000 for fitness of the purpose for the use of water, EN 1074-2:2000 for water supply valves, EN 1074-6:2008 as a verification procedure for the hydrants and EN 12266-2:2002 for industrial valve testing (Alegre 102).

Works Cited

Alegre, Helena. Performance Indicators for Water Supply Services. London: IWA Publishing, 2006.

Hirst, Ben. Exam Prep: Fire Department Apparatus Driver Operator. California: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2005.

Wieder, Michael. Fire Service Hydraulics and Water Supply, 1st edition. New York: International Fire Service Training Assn, 2004.