Emerging investigator series: disaggregating residential sector high-resolution smart water meter data into appliance end-uses with unsupervised machine learning†
The residential sector accounts for a significant amount of water consumption in the United States. Understanding this water consumption behavior provides an opportunity for water savings, which are important for sustaining freshwater resources. In this study, we analyzed 1-second resolution smart water meter data from a 4-person household over one year as a demonstration. We disaggregated the data using derivative signals of the influent water flow rate at the water supply point of the home to identify start and end times of water events. k-means clustering, an unsupervised machine learning method, then categorized these water events based on information collected from the appliance/fixture end uses. The use of unsupervised learning reduces the training data requirements and lowers the barrier of implementation for the model. Using the water use profiles, we determined peak demand times and identified seasonal, weekly, and daily trends. These results provide insight into specific water conservation and efficiency opportunities within the household (e.g., reduced shower durations), including the reduction of water consumption during peak demand hours. The widespread implementation of this type of smart water metering and disaggregation system could improve water conservation and efficiency on a larger scale and reduce stress on local infrastructure systems and water resources.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Emerging Investigator Series