Infrastructure systems have a number of common features that shape decision processes related to sizing their components and influencing their resulting form and function including the magnitude of investments, public reliance on high quality performance, and adaptability to uncertain future conditions. Water supply systems share these features. Desirable system characteristics have evolved over time to more fully describe how the infrastructure meets long term goals. Sustainability, robustness and resilience are three encompassing conflicting characteristics. This talk defines these terms, how previous research has contributing to their assessment and application and future research needs to support the water distribution industry in developing systems with those characters.