2. Quick Start Tutorial

This chapter provides a tutorial on how to use EPANET. If you are not familiar with the components that comprise a water distribution system and how these are represented in pipe network models you might want to review the first two sections of The Network Model chapter first.

2.1. Installing EPANET

EPANET Version 2.2 is designed to run under the Windows 7/8/10 operating system of an Intel-compatible personal computer. It is distributed as a single installer package file, epanet2.2_setup.exe. To install EPANET:

  1. Select Run from the Windows Start menu.
  2. Enter the full path and name of the epanet2.2_setup.exe file or click the Browse button to locate it on your computer.
  3. Click the OK button type to begin the setup process.

The setup program will ask you to choose a folder (directory) where the EPANET files will be placed. The default folder is c:\Program Files (x86)\EPANET 2.2. After the files are installed your Start Menu will have a new item named EPANET 2.2. To launch EPANET simply select this item off of the Start Menu, then select EPANET 2.2 from the submenu that appears. (The name of the executable file that runs EPANET under Windows is epanet2w.exe.)

Should you wish to remove EPANET from your computer, you can use the following procedure:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Double-click on the Add/Remove Programs or Uninstall a program item.
  3. Select EPANET 2.2 from the list of programs that appears.
  4. Click the Add/Remove button or right click and select uninstall.

2.2. Example Network

In this tutorial we will analyze the simple distribution network shown in Fig. 2.1 below. It consists of a source reservoir (e.g., a treatment plant clearwell) from which water is pumped into a two-loop pipe network. There is also a pipe leading to a storage tank that floats on the system. The ID labels for the various components are shown in the figure. The nodes in the network have the characteristics shown in Table 2.1. Pipe properties are listed in Table 2.2. In addition, the pump (Link 9) can deliver 150 ft of head at a flow of 600 gpm, and the tank (Node 8) has a 60-ft diameter, a 3.5-ft water level, and a maximum level of 20 feet.

Example Pipe Network

Fig. 2.1 Example Pipe Network.

Table 2.1 Example Network Node Properties
Node Elevation (ft) Demand (gpm)
1 700 0
2 700 0
3 710 150
4 700 150
5 650 200
6 700 150
7 700 0
8 830 0
Table 2.2 Example Network Pipe Properties
Pipe Length (ft) Diameter (inches) C-Factor
1 3000 14 100
2 5000 12 100
3 5000 8 100
4 5000 8 100
5 5000 8 100
6 7000 10 100
7 5000 6 100
8 7000 6 100

2.3. Project Setup

Our first task is to create a new project in EPANET and make sure that certain default options are selected. To begin, launch EPANET, or if it is already running select File >> New (from the menu bar) to create a new project. Then select Project >> Defaults to open the dialog form shown in Fig. 2.2. We will use this dialog to have EPANET automatically label new objects with consecutive numbers starting from 1 as they are added to the network. On the ID Labels page of the dialog, clear all of the ID Prefix fields and set the ID Increment to 1. Then select the Hydraulics page of the dialog and set the choice of Flow Units to GPM (gallons per minute). This implies that US Customary units will be used for all other quantities as well (length in feet, pipe diameter in inches, pressure in psi, etc.). Also select Hazen - Williams (H-W) as the headloss formula. If you wanted to save these choices for all future new projects you could check the Save box at the bottom of the form before accepting it by clicking the OK button.

Project defaults window

Fig. 2.2 Project Defaults Dialog.

Next we will select some map display options so that as we add objects to the map, we will see their ID labels and symbols displayed. Select View >> Options to bring up the Map Options dialog form. Select the Notation page on this form and check the settings shown in Fig. 2.3 below. Then switch to the Symbols page and check all of the boxes. Click the OK button to accept these choices and close the dialog.

Finally, before drawing our network we should insure that our map scale settings are acceptable. Select View >> Dimensions to bring up the Map Dimensions dialog. Note the default dimensions assigned for a new project. These settings will suffice for this example, so click the OK button.

Map options window

Fig. 2.3 Map Options Dialog.

2.4. Drawing the Network

We are now ready to begin drawing our network by making use of our mouse and the buttons contained on the Map Toolbar shown below. (If the toolbar is not visible then select View >> Toolbars >> Map).


First we will add the reservoir. Click the Reservoir button image4. Then click the mouse on the map at the location of the reservoir (somewhere to the left of the map).

Next we will add the junction nodes. Click the Junction button image5 and then click on the map at the locations of nodes 2 through 7.

Finally add the tank by clicking the Tank button image6 and clicking the map where the tank is located. At this point the Network Map should look something like the drawing in Fig. 2.4.

Network Map after Adding Nodes

Fig. 2.4 Network Map after Adding Nodes.

Next we will add the pipes. Let’s begin with pipe 1 connecting node 2 to node 3. First click the Pipe button image8 on the Toolbar. Then click the mouse on node 2 on the map and then on node 3. Note how an outline of the pipe is drawn as you move the mouse from node 2 to 3. Repeat this procedure for pipes 2 through 7.

Pipe 8 is curved. To draw it, click the mouse first on Node 5. Then as you move the mouse towards Node 6, click at those points where a change of direction is needed to maintain the desired shape. Complete the process by clicking on Node 6.

Finally we will add the pump. Click the Pump button image9, click on node 1 and then on node 2.

Next we will label the reservoir, pump and tank. Select the Text button image10 on the Map Toolbar and click somewhere close to the reservoir (Node 1). An edit box will appear. Type in the word SOURCE and then hit the Enter key. Click next to the pump and enter its label, then do the same for the tank. Then click the Selection button image11 on the Toolbar to put the map into Object Selection mode rather than Text Insertion mode.

At this point we have completed drawing the example network. Your Network Map should look like the map in Fig. 2.1. If the nodes are out of position you can move them around by clicking the node to select it, and then dragging it with the left mouse button held down to its new position. Note how pipes connected to the node are moved along with the node. The labels can be repositioned in similar fashion. To re - shape the curved Pipe 8:

  1. First click on Pipe 8 to select it and then click the image12 button on the Map Toolbar to put the map into Vertex Selection mode.
  2. Select a vertex point on the pipe by clicking on it and then drag it to a new position with the left mouse button held down.
  3. If required, vertices can be added or deleted from the pipe by right- clicking the mouse and selecting the appropriate option from the popup menu that appears.
  4. When finished, click image13 to return to Object Selection mode.

2.5. Setting Object Properties

As objects are added to a project they are assigned a default set of properties. To change the value of a specific property for an object one must select the object into the Property Editor (Fig. 2.5). There are several different ways to do this. If the Editor is already visible then you can simply click on the object or select it from the Data page of the Browser. If the Editor is not visible then you can make it appear by one of the following actions:

  • Double-click the object on the map
  • Right-click on the object and select Properties from the pop-up menu that appears
  • Select the object from the Data page of the Browser window and then click the Browser’s Edit button image14

Whenever the Property Editor has the focus you can press the F1 key to obtain fuller descriptions of the properties listed

Property Editor Window

Fig. 2.5 Property Editor.

Let us begin editing by selecting Node 2 into the Property Editor as shown above. We would now enter the elevation and demand for this node in the appropriate fields. You can use the Up and Down arrows on the keyboard or the mouse to move between fields. We need only click on another object (node or link) to have its properties appear next in the Property Editor. (We could also press the Page Down or Page Up key to move to the next or previous object of the same type in the database.) Thus we can simply move from object to object and fill in elevation and demand for nodes, and length, diameter, and roughness (C-factor) for links.

For the reservoir you would enter its elevation (700) in the Total Head field. For the tank, enter 830 for its elevation, 4 for its initial level, 20 for its maximum level, and 60 for its diameter. For the pump, we need to assign it a pump curve (head versus flow relationship). Enter the ID label 1 in the Pump Curve field.

Next we will create Pump Curve 1. From the Data page of the Browser window, select Curves from the dropdown list box and then click the Add button image16. A new Curve 1 will be added to the database and the Curve Editor dialog form will appear (see Fig. 2.6). Enter the pump’s design flow (600) and head (150) into this form. EPANET automatically creates a complete pump curve from this single point. The curve’s equation is shown along with its shape. Click OK to close the Editor.

Curve Editor Window

Fig. 2.6 Curve Editor.

2.6. Saving and Opening Projects

Having completed the initial design of our network it is a good idea to save our work to a file at this point.

  1. From the File menu select the Save As option.
  2. In the Save As dialog that appears, select a folder and file name under which to save this project. We suggest naming the file tutorial.net. (An extension of .net will be added to the file name if one is not supplied.).
  3. Click OK to save the project to file.

The project data is saved to the file in a special binary format. If you wanted to save the network data to file as readable text, use the File >> Export >> Network command instead.

To open our project at some later time, we would select the Open command from the File menu.

2.7. Running a Single Period Analysis

We now have enough information to run a single period (or snapshot) hydraulic analysis on our example network. To run the analysis select Project >> Run Analysis or click the Run button image18 on the Standard Toolbar. (If the toolbar is not visible select View >> Toolbars >> Standard from the menu bar).

If the run was unsuccessful then a Status Report window will appear indicating what the problem was. If it ran successfully you can view the computed results in a variety of ways. Try some of the following:

  • Select Node Pressure from the Browser’s Map page and observe how pressure values at the nodes become color-coded. To view the legend for the color-coding, select View >> Legends >> Node (or right- click on an empty portion of the map and select Node Legend from the popup menu). To change the legend intervals and colors, right-click on the legend to make the Legend Editor appear.
  • Bring up the Property Editor (double-click on any node or link) and note how the computed results are displayed at the end of the property list.
  • Create a tabular listing of results by selecting Report >> Table (or by clicking the Table button image19 on the Standard Toolbar). Fig. 2.7 displays such a table for the link results of this run. Note that flows with negative signs means that the flow is in the opposite direction to the direction in which the pipe was drawn initially.
Example of a Table with Link Results

Fig. 2.7 Example Table of Link Results.

2.8. Running an Extended Period Analysis

To make our network more realistic for analyzing an extended period of operation we will create a Time Pattern that makes demands at the nodes vary in a periodic way over the course of a day. For this simple example we will use a pattern time step of 6 hours thus making demands change at four different times of the day. (A 1-hour pattern time step is a more typical number and is the default assigned to new projects.) We set the pattern time step by selecting Options-Times from the Data Browser, clicking the Browser’s Edit button to make the Property Editor appear (if its not already visible), and entering 6 for the value of the Pattern Time Step (as shown in Fig. 2.8 below). While we have the Time Options available we can also set the duration for which we want the extended period to run. Let’s use a 3-day period of time (enter 72 hours for the Duration property).

Time Options Window

Fig. 2.8 Times Options.

To create the pattern, select the Patterns category in the Browser and then click the Add button image22. A new Pattern 1 will be created and the Pattern Editor dialog should appear (see Fig. 2.9). Enter the multiplier values 0.5, 1.3, 1.0, 1.2 for the time periods 1 to 4 that will give our pattern a duration of 24 hours. The multipliers are used to modify the demand from its base level in each time period. Since we are making a run of 72 hours, the pattern will wrap around to the start after each 24-hour interval of time.

Pattern Editor Window

Fig. 2.9 Pattern Editor.

We now need to assign Pattern 1 to the Demand Pattern property of all of the junctions in our network. We can utilize one of EPANET’s Hydraulic Options to avoid having to edit each junction individually. If you bring up the Hydraulic Options in the Property Editor you will see that there is an item called Default Pattern. Setting its value equal to 1 will make the Demand Pattern at each junction equal Pattern 1, as long as no other pattern is assigned to the junction.

Next run the analysis (select Project >> Run Analysis or click the image24 button on the Standard Toolbar). For extended period analysis you have several more ways in which to view results:

  • The scrollbar in the Browser’s Time controls is used to display the network map at different points in time. Try doing this with Pressure selected as the node parameter and Flow as the link parameter.
  • The buttons in the Browser can animate the map through time. Click the Forward button image25 to start the animation and the Stop button image26 to stop it.
  • Add flow direction arrows to the map (select View >> Options, select the Flow Arrows page from the Map Options dialog, and check a style of arrow that you wish to use). Then begin the animation again and note the change in flow direction through the pipe connected to the tank as the tank fills and empties over time.
  • Create a time series plot for any node or link. For example, to see how the water elevation in the tank changes with time:
    1. Click on the tank.
    2. Select Report >> Graph (or click the Graph button image27 on the Standard Toolbar) which will display a Graph Selection dialog box.
    3. Select the Time Series button on the dialog.
    4. Select Head as the parameter to plot.
    5. Click OK to accept your choice of graph.

Note the periodic behavior of the water elevation in the tank over time (Fig. 2.10).

Example of a Time Series Plot

Fig. 2.10 Example Time Series Plot.

2.9. Running a Water Quality Analysis

Next we show how to extend the analysis of our example network to include water quality. The simplest case would be tracking the growth in water age throughout the network over time. To make this analysis we only have to select Age for the Parameter property in the Quality Options (select Options-Quality from the Data page of the Browser, then click the Browser’s Edit button to make the Property Editor appear). Run the analysis and select Age as the parameter to view on the map. Create a time series plot for Age in the tank. Note that unlike water level, 72 hours is not enough time for the tank to reach periodic behavior for water age. (The default initial condition is to start all nodes with an age of 0.) Try repeating the simulation using a 240-hour duration or assigning an initial age of 60 hours to the tank (enter 60 as the value of Initial Quality in the Property Editor for the tank).

Finally we show how to simulate the transport and decay of chlorine through the network. Make the following changes to the database:

  1. Select Options-Quality to edit from the Data Browser. In the Property Editor’s Parameter field type in the word Chlorine.
  2. Switch to Options-Reactions in the Browser. For Global Bulk Coefficient enter a value of -1.0. This reflects the rate at which chlorine will decay due to reactions in the bulk flow over time. This rate will apply to all pipes in the network. You could edit this value for individual pipes if you needed to.
  3. Click on the reservoir node and set its Initial Quality to 1.0. This will be the concentration of chlorine that continuously enters the network. (Reset the initial quality in the Tank to 0 if you had changed it.)

Now run the example. Use the Time controls on the Map Browser to see how chlorine levels change by location and time throughout the simulation. Note how for this simple network, only junctions 5, 6, and 7 see depressed chlorine levels because of being fed by low chlorine water from the tank. Create a reaction report for this run by selecting Report >> Reaction from the main menu. The report should look like Fig. 2.11. It shows on average how much chlorine loss occurs in the pipes as opposed to the tank. The term “bulk” refers to reactions occurring in the bulk fluid while “wall” refers to reactions with material on the pipe wall. The latter reaction is zero because we did not specify any wall reaction coefficient in this example.

Example of a Reaction Report

Fig. 2.11 Example Reaction Report.

We have only touched the surface of the various capabilities offered by EPANET. Some additional features of the program that you should experiment with are:

  • Editing a property for a group of objects that lie within a user- defined area
  • Using Control statements to base pump operation on time of day or tank water levels
  • Exploring different Map Options, such as making node size be related to value
  • Attaching a backdrop map (such as a street map) to the network map
  • Creating different types of graphs, such as profile plots and contour plots
  • Adding calibration data to a project and viewing a calibration report
  • Copying the map, a graph, or a report to the clipboard or to a file
  • Saving and retrieving a design scenario (i.e., current nodal demands, pipe roughness values, etc.)