Exploring the Effectiveness of Clustering Algorithms for Capturing Water Consumption Behavior at Household Level
Ioannou, Alexandra E., Enrico F. Creaco, and Chrysi S. Laspidou 2021. "Exploring the Effectiveness of Clustering Algorithms for Capturing Water Consumption Behavior at Household Level" Sustainability 13, no. 5: 2603. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052603
As water scarcity becomes more prevalent, the analysis of urban water consumption patterns at the consumer level and the estimation of the corresponding water demand for water utility are expected to be among the top priorities of water companies in the near future. This study proposes a comprehensive methodology for water managers to achieve an efficient operation of urban water networks, by successfully detecting residential water consumption patterns corresponding to different household needs and behaviors. The methodology uses Self Organizing Maps as the main clustering algorithm in combination with K-means and Hierarchical Agglomerative Clustering. The objective is to create clusters in a literature dataset that includes water consumption from 21 customers located in Milford, Ohio, USA, for a 7-month period. Originally, water consumption data was recorded for every water use incident in the household, while for this analysis, the information is converted to half-hourly water consumption. Individual customers with similar consumption behavior are clustered and water-consumption curves are calculated for each cluster; these curves can be used by the water utility to obtain estimates of the spatio-temporal distribution of demand, thus giving insight into peak demands at different locations. Statistical indices of agreement are used to confirm a good agreement between the estimated and observed water use, when clustering is employed. The resulting curves show a clear improvement in capturing water consumption behavior at household level, when compared to corresponding curves obtained without clustering. This analysis offers water utilities an innovative solution that relies on real time data and uses data science principles for optimizing water supply and network operation and provides tools for the efficient use of water resources.