AbstractWater distribution systems (WDSs) need to be resilient against seismic hazards to ensure rapid recovery of the community following an earthquake. Topology-based resilience metrics are often used to determine the system-level performance of WDSs. However, existing topology-based resilience metrics are unable to estimate seismic performance of WDSs accurately because they do not account for the vulnerability of pipelines in the metrics. This study tailored an existing topological metric and developed a new edge-betweenness-based topological metric for evaluating the seismic resilience of a complex water distribution network. System-level performance of WDSs is compared using four performance measures including minimum cut set (MCS)–based system reliability, topological resilience metric (TRM), modified TRM, and the newly developed edge-betweenness-based TRM. These metrics were applied for four WDSs (i.e., Anytown, New York Tunnel, Jilin, and Bellingham WDSs) with unique characteristics to validate their effectiveness in estimating the seismic performance of WDSs against seismic hazards. The outcomes of these applications show that the proposed TRM can be used to determine pipelines’ seismic performance and functionality after an earthquake with an acceptable accuracy compared with existing approaches. While the topology-based resilience analysis provides information about system-level functionality, it is also vital to determine an optimal recovery sequence for damaged WDSs to maximize the functionality during the recovery process. Therefore, an easy-to-use recovery strategy is proposed to determine the optimal recovery sequence based on a repair index. The optimal recovery strategy was tested for the recovery procedure for the damaged Anytown WDS due to an earthquake, and outcomes show the system functionality is restored quickest using the proposed optimal recovery strategy.