Colombian power system is experienced important changes due to the large scale integration of renewable power generation based on solar and wind power; added to the fact that direct current networks have taken important attention, since they are efficient in terms of power loss and voltage profile at distribution or transmission levels For addressing this problem, this paper presents the application of an emerging bio-inspired metaheuristic optimization technique known as elephant swarm water search algorithm to the optimal power flow problem in direct current networks. A master-slave hybrid optimization strategy for optimal power flow analysis is addressed in this paper by decoupling this problem in two optimizing issues. The first problem corresponds to the selection of the power generated by all non-voltage controlled distributed generators; While the second problem lies in the solution of the classical power flow equations in direct current networks. The solution of the master problem (first problem) is made by applying the elephant swarm water search algorithm, while the second problem (slave problem) is solved by a conventional Gauss-Seidel numerical method. The proposed hybrid methodology allows solving the power flow problem by using any basic programming language with minimum computational effort and well-precision when is compared with optimizing packages such as general algebraic modeling system/CONOPT solver and conventional metaheuristic techniques such as genetic algorithms. © Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.