Predict-then-optimise strategies for water flow control

Vincent Barbosa Vaz, James Bailey, Christopher Leckie, Peter J. Stuckey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


A pressure sewer system is a network of pump stations used to collect and manage sewage from individual properties that cannot be directly connected to the gravity driven sewer network due to the topography of the terrain. We consider a common scenario for a pressure sewer system, where individual sites collect sewage in a local tank, and then pump it into the gravity fed sewage network. Standard control systems simply wait until the local tank reaches (near) capacity and begin pumping out. Unfortunately such simple control usually leads to peaks in sewage flow in the morning and evening, corresponding to peak water usage in the properties. High peak flows require equalization basins or overflow systems, or larger capacity sewage treatment plants. In this paper we investigate combining prediction and optimisation to better manage peak sewage flows. We use simple prediction methods to generate realistic possible future scenarios, and then develop optimisation models to generate pumping plans that try to smooth out flows into the network. The solutions of these models create a policy for pumping out that is specialized to individual properties and which overall is able to substantially reduce peak flows.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication29th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming
EditorsRoland H. C. Yap Yap
Place of PublicationWadern Germany
PublisherSchloss Dagstuhl
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783959773003
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
EventInternational Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming 2023 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 27 Aug 202331 Aug 2023
Conference number: 29th (Proceedings) (Website)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming 2023
Abbreviated titleCP 2023
Internet address


  • Machine Learning
  • Optimization
  • Water Flow Control

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