AbstractFor optimally designing water distribution networks (WDNs), the nondeterministic polynomial hard problem, a novel hybrid model, is introduced with the combined features of evolutionary and swarm intelligence techniques. An evolutionary algorithm with better exploration properties, differential evolution (DE), and the swarm intelligence technique with better exploitation properties, namely the krill herd algorithm (KHA), is considered for this purpose. Because exploration and exploitation are the essential features of the metaheuristic algorithms, the hybrid algorithm with a combination of the DE and KHA features, the DE-KHA, resulted in a balanced search methodology. The results on the application of the proposed model on well-studied benchmark problems have demonstrated its enhanced search behavior, converging faster to the promising results with considerable robustness. Moreover, compared with other competing algorithms reported for optimally designing the WDNs, the DE-KHA outperforms with better computational efficiency. Additionally, considering the few control parameters that have to be calibrated for their optimal values, the computational burden will be less for performing the sensitivity analysis. As a result, considering the solution precision, quick convergence ability, and robustness of DE-KHA, the study suggests the algorithm for efficiently handling real-life case studies.