Water Security

What We Do

Sandia’s decision support analysis for water utilities increases the security and resilience of water distribution networks.

image of an example connectivity analysis
Example connectivity analysis showing critical hydraulic pathways upstream from a tank (red) and downstream to customers (blue).

Water distribution systems are a crucial component of urban infrastructure. They provide essential services, delivering a reliable source of safe drinking water to support human health, the economy, and the environment. However, these systems face multiple challenges including aging infrastructure, water quality concerns, uncertainty in supply and demand, natural disasters, environmental emergencies, and cyber and terrorist attacks. These incidents have the potential to disrupt water service for extended periods of time.

Researchers at Sandia integrate their expertise in simulation, resilience analysis, and software development to help water utilities understand how their system will respond to expected and unexpected incidents. Results from the decision support analysis help prioritize mitigation and recovery options to improve system security and resilience.

Our capabilities include:

  • Water distribution system model development
  • Hydraulic and water quality simulation 
  • Public health and network impact assessment
  • Water quality anomaly detection 
  • Sensor placement optimization 
  • Mitigation and recovery plans

Sandia is partnering with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to integrate these capabilities into open source software.


Sandia’s Water Network Tool for Resilience (WNTR) is an open source software package designed to simulate and analyze a water distribution networks’ resilience. The software includes capabilities to generate water distribution system models and evaluate resilience considering disaster and recovery scenarios. WNTR has been used for a wide range of resilience applications, including earthquakes, power outages, water quality concerns, supply and demand uncertainty, and cyber-attacks.

Katherine Klise

Search our recent articles and research on the Sandia National Laboratories publications database.