Towards self-healing in water infrastructure systems

Lauren McMillan*, Liz Varga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


With infrastructure systems growing increasingly complex and interdependent, the consequences of a system failure have the potential to be more devastating, and impact more users, than ever before. Self-healing systems, originally proposed as a solution to complexity in software-based systems, are those which can independently identify failure or degradation in the network and generate solutions to restore functionality, allowing the continued provision of services. The benefits of adopting a self-healing approach to infrastructure network management are obvious and abundant; network quality can be assessed and assured, threats can be swiftly identified and dealt with, resources can be assigned to optimise coverage under fluctuating demand, and consumers can have confidence in the stability of the services they use on a daily basis. This paper outlines the potential for self-healing within water infrastructure systems, a sector that has been slow to embrace system-wide approaches. A systematic review of the topic identifies emerging terminology and methods within the water domain, and the extent to which current research aligns with self-healing methodology is discussed. Finally, the steps that can be implemented to shift the water sector towards a self-healing perspective are explored through a case study of leakage management in water pipeline systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Smart Infrastructure and Construction
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Cite this