A sequence-based selection hyper-heuristic with online learning is used to optimise 12 water distribution networks of varying sizes. The hyper-heuristic results are compared with those produced by five multiobjective evolutionary algorithms. The comparison demonstrates that the hyper-heuristic is a computationally efficient alternative to a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm. An offline learning algorithm is used to enhance the optimisation performance of the hyper-heuristic. The optimisation results of the offline trained hyper-heuristic are analysed statistically, and a new offline learning methodology is proposed. The new methodology is evaluated, and shown to produce an improvement in performance on each of the 12 networks. Finally, it is demonstrated that offline learning can be usefully transferred from small, computationally inexpensive problems, to larger computationally expensive ones, and that the improvement in optimisation performance is statistically significant, with 99% confidence.