The operation of a water distribution system is a complex task which involves scheduling of pumps, regulating water levels of storages, and providing satisfactory water quality to customers at required flow and pressure. Pump scheduling is one of the most important tasks of the operation of a water distribution system as it represents the major part of its operating costs. In this paper, a novel approach for modeling of pump scheduling to minimize energy consumption by pumps is introduced which uses pump's start/end run times as continuous variables. This is different from other approaches where binary integer variables for each hour are typically used which is considered very impractical from an operational perspective. The problem is formulated as a nonlinear programming problem and a new algorithm is developed for its solution. This algorithm is based on the combination of the grid search with the Hooke-Jeeves pattern search method. The performance of the algorithm is evaluated using literature test problems applying the hydraulic simulation model EPANet.