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Insight from Smart Water Meters: Opportunities for Targeted Management Strategies

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posted on 2016-12-16, 05:53 authored by Mark ThyerMark Thyer, Nicole Arbon

This seminar will present the key insights and practical implications for targeted management strategies that have emerged from analysis of 3 years of smart water meter measurements on a representative set of 100-150 households in Adelaide. It will be of interest to a wide range of personnel within SA Water including water network planners and operators who use demand and waste water predictions to optimize planning and operational decisions, and to community engagement and policy personnel who wish to better understand the relationship between household behavior and water use. The topics to be covered include:

Drivers of Indoor Use

The key drivers of indoor water use were identified by combining end use measurements with household surveys of demographics, behavior, appliance usage and attitude. Key findings include:

•     Distinct household usage groups (related to demographics such as income/age/attitude) were identified with different water end-use patterns.

•     This has implications for the development of targeted strategies for effective demand management and water use prediction to optimise planning and operations of water networks.

•     The Behavioural End Use Stochastic Simulator (BESS) that utilises differences in behaviour and water using appliances to provide end-use predictions was found to be highly accurate (~5-10% errors) when calibrated with local end-use measurements.

•     This implies BESS can provide reliable water use predictions that incorporate changes in behaviour and household characteristics. BESS was used to attribute water-use reduction during the 2007-2009 drought and provide predictions of demand management scenarios (uptake of water efficient appliances) in the future (2025 and 2050).

Drivers of Outdoor Use and Peak Demands

The key drivers of outdoor water use and peak demand were analyzed by combining the three years of smart water measurements with climate and household characteristics (garden size/irrigation type etc). Key findings are:

•    Potential impacts of future climate change on peak demands.

•    Identification of the key drivers of outdoor water use and its implications for water prediction and demand management strategies.

•    Identification of the key drivers of peak water and its implications for peak demand prediction and peak demand reduction strategies. An important finding being that a small proportion of the households with certain characteristics contribute a large amount to the peak demand.

The majority of these findings emerged from the “Identifying the Key Drivers of Household Water Use” component of the Goyder Institute for Water Research Optimal Water Resource Mix (OWRM) for Greater Adelaide project of which SA Water was a key stakeholder.


Goyder Institute for Water Research, University of Adelaide, CSIRO


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