Current students


HAO WENJINCycle: XXXVI

Section: Systems and Control
Advisor: CASTELLETTI ANDREA FRANCESCO
Tutor: ZANCHETTIN ANDREA MARIA

Major Research topic:
Managing urban water demand across multiple spatiotemporal scales

Abstract:
The availability of freshwater resources is increasingly important for human residential, industrial and agricultural use. In the 21st century, urban areas are becoming more denser and for the first time the population in cities has surpassed that in rural areas. This figure is expected to increase to 68% in 2050. Urban water consumption is consequently increasing in cities. Meanwhile, climate change and environmental deterioration intensify the stress on the finite freshwater supply to meet urban water demand. While keeping looking for alternative water resources and improving water treatment technologies to ensure quantity and quality of water supply, more efficient and effective water demand management strategies are also expected to enhance the resilience of urban water systems. To date, various technological, economical, legislative, and educational tools are applied to improve urban water demand management, for example, the large-scale installation of watersaving appliances in households, largely increasing water price or more strict mandatory policies tools. These demand management strategies rely on a comprehensive understanding of typical water consumption patterns and their drivers at specific geographical areas and different seasonal periods. With this regard, the development of recent modelling technique and the advent of smart meters in the late 1990s open up new opportunities to support urban water demand modelling and make high spatial and temporal resolution data available. Ultimately, more sustainable urban water systems can be achieved by designing water-related policies and conducting customized water conservation actions.

In this research project, we aim to develop data-driven models for exploring urban water demand patterns at different spatial scales: from cities, districts to buildings and individual households in European countries. Meanwhile, the relevant climatic, socio-demographic, economic and housing characteristics drivers of specific demand will be identified to investigate the causal mechanisms. Finally, these numerical results will strongly support and inform regional, national and European water demand management policies and governance decisions.