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Original author(s)Lewis A. Rossman
Developer(s)United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA, Cincinnati, Ohio)
Stable release
2.2 / July 23, 2020; 21 months ago (2020-07-23)[1]
Written inC Programming Language(engine) / Object Pascal(User Interface)
Operating systemWindows
Available inEnglish
TypeEngineering Simulation
LicenseNone (Public domain)

EPANET is a public domain, water distribution system modeling software package developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Water Supply and Water Resources Division. It performs extended-period simulation of hydraulic and water-quality behavior within pressurized pipe networks and is designed to be "a research tool that improves our understanding of the movement and fate of drinking-water constituents within distribution systems".[2] EPANET first appeared in 1993.[3]

EPANET 2 is available both as a standalone program and as an open-source toolkit (Application Programming Interface in C). Its computational engine is used by many software companies that developed more powerful, proprietary packages, often GIS-centric. The EPANET ".inp" input file format,[4] which represents network topology, water consumption, and control rules, is supported by many free and commercial modeling packages. Therefore, it is arguably considered as the industry standard.


EPANET provides an integrated environment for editing network input data, running hydraulic and water quality simulations, and viewing the results in a variety of formats. EPANET provides a fully equipped and extended period of hydraulic analysis that can handle systems of any size. The package also supports the simulation of spatially and temporally varying water demand, constant or variable speed pumps, and the minor head losses for bends and fittings. The modeling provides information such as flows in pipes, pressures at junctions, propagation of a contaminant, chlorine concentration, water age, and even alternative scenario analysis. This helps to compute pumping energy and cost and then model various types of valves, including shutoffs, check pressure regulating and flow control.

EPANET's water quality modeling functionality allows users to analyze the movement of a reactive or non-reactive tracer material which spreads through the network over time. It tracks the reactive material as it spreads, measuring the percentage of flow from the given nodes. The package employs the global reaction rate coefficient which can be modified on a pipe-by-pipe basis. The storage tanks can be modeled as complete mix, plug flow or two-compartment reactors.

The visual network editor of EPANET simplifies the process of building piping network models and editing their properties. These various types of data reporting visualization tools are used to assist to analyze the networks, which include the graphics views, tabular views, and special reports.

Hydraulic simulation[edit]

Headloss in pipe segments[edit]

EPANET hydraulics engine computes headlosses along the pipes by using one of the three formulas:

  • Hazen-Williams formula: used to model full flow conditions under simplified conditions (turbulent flow, temperature around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and viscosity similar to water) http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/wswrd/dw/epanet.html
  • Darcy-Weisbach formula: used to model pressurized flow under a broader range of hydraulic conditions
  • Chezy-Manning formula: used to model pressurized flow by using Chezy's roughness coefficients for Manning's equation

Since the pipe segment headloss equation is used within the network solver, the formula above is selected for the entire model.

Head-flow Curves of Pumps[edit]

Within EPANET, pumps are modeled using a head-flow curve, which defines the relationship between hydraulic head imparted to the system by the pump and flow conveyed by the pump. The model calculates the flow conveyed by the pump element for a given system head condition based on this curve. EPANET can also model a pump as a constant power input, effectively adding a given amount of energy to the system downstream of the pump element.[4]

Network solver[edit]

The network hydraulics solver employed by EPANET uses the "Gradient Method" first proposed by Todini and Pilati,[5] which is a variant of Newton–Raphson method.

Water-quality simulation[edit]

EPANET includes the capability to model water age and predict flow of non-reactive and, under simplified conditions, reactive materials.[4] This capability is frequently used to predict chlorine residuals within water distribution systems. While the internal water quality simulation capabilities only evaluates decay or growth of a single constituent, an extension is available (EPANET-MSX), which allows modeling of interactions between constituents.

EPANET Toolkit[edit]

EPANET's computational engine is available for download as a separate dynamic link library for incorporation into other applications.[6] The source code for EPANET 2 is available on the EPA's EPANET website.[7]

In 2012 the EPANET toolkit, written in C, was rewritten in Java in a more object-oriented style. The code in Java is available on GitHub: https://github.com/Baseform/Baseform-Epanet-Java-Library.


EPANET uses a binary file format, but also includes the capability for importing and exporting data in dxf, metafile, and ASCII file formats. EPANET's ASCII file format is called an input file within EPANET, and uses a file extension ".inp".[4] The input file can include data describing network topology, water consumption, and control rules, and is supported by many free and commercial modeling packages.

While EPANET is used as the computational engine for most water distribution system models, most models are developed and maintained in hydraulic modeling packages based on EPANET's computational engine. Some of the major hydraulic modeling packages are:

  • InfoWorks WS Pro, InfoWater Pro, and InfoWater, developed by Innovyze [An Autodesk Company]
  • Qatium, developed by Qatium
  • Fluidit Water, developed by Fluidit
  • Pipe2000, developed by KYPipe, LLC
  • MIKE URBAN, developed by DHI
  • WaterCAD, WaterGEMS, HAMMER, and SewerCAD developed by Bentley's Haestad Methods (Hydraulics & Hydrology) group.
  • WatDis, developed by Transparent Blue
  • WaterNAM, Water Network Analysis Model, Developed by Streamstech Inc.[8]
  • Giswater, open source software developed by the Giswater Association[9]
  • GISpipe, software which is easily used for the analysis, design, and operation of water distribution networks Integrated with GIS system developed by Jinbosoft[10]
  • Urbano Hydra, AutoCAD/Map3D/Civil3D application software used for the hydraulic calculation, analysis, design and operation of water distribution networks. Integrated with GIS system and ready for BIM workflows developed by StudioARS Company[11]
  • GeoSan, open source GIS software to manage water pipes and consumers, developed by NEXUS GeoEngenharia available at www.softwarepublico.gov.br.
  • WateNET-CAD developed by Diolkos3D.
  • Esurvey Water - developed by {https://www.esurveying.net], The output Files from EPANET can be used to generate LS and presentable Final Drawings

Most of these applications allow for multiple demand conditions, planning scenarios, and various methods of integrating with other data sources an agency may already have in place not supported in EPANET, such as GIS, and support additional types of analyses not found in EPANET. ESurvey Water is developed to create Auto Designed Longitudinal Profiles, and auto generation of the final outputs after the hydraulic design is completed in EPANET and other software.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "EPANET - Water Research - US EPA". epa.gov. Retrieved 2021-04-05.
  2. ^ Rossman, L. A., "Computer Models/EPANET" in L. Mays, ed., Water Distribution Systems Handbook, Chapter 12, McGraw-Hill companies, Inc., New York, NY, 1999.
  3. ^ Rossman, L. A., "the EPANET Water Quality Model" in B. Coulbeck, ed., Integrated Computer Applications in Water Supply, Vol. 2, Research Studies Press Ltd., Somerset, England, 1993.
  4. ^ a b c d Rossman, L. A., "EPANET 2 Users Manual", 2000
  5. ^ Todini E. & Pilati S. 1988. A gradient algorithm for the analysis of pipe networks. In B. Coulbeck and C.H. Orr (eds) Computer Applications in Water Supply, Volume 1 (System analysis and simulation), John Wiley & Sons, London, pp. 1-20.
  6. ^ United States Environmental Protection Agency "Programmer's Toolkit", United States Environmental Protection Agency, Updated 5 January 2012. Retrieved on 21 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Application for Modeling Drinking Water Distribution Systems". www.epa.gov.
  8. ^ "Streams Tech, Inc. | Products". streamstech.com. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-13. Retrieved 2015-07-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "GISpipe - GIS based EPANET and SWMM integration software". GISpipe. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  11. ^ "Urbano Hydra - YouTube". YouTube.

External links[edit]