Multipurpose water systems are usually operated on a tradeoff of conflicting operating objectives. Under steady state climatic and socioeconomic conditions, such tradeoff is supposed to represent a fair and/or efficient preference. Extreme variability in external forcing might affect water operators’ risk aver- sion and force a change in her/his preference. We argue that preference selection evolves according to recent, extreme variations in system performance: underperforming in one of the objectives pushes the preference toward the harmed objective. To test this assumption, we developed a rational procedure to simulate the operator’s preference selection. We map this selection onto a multilateral negotiation, where multiple virtual agents independently optimize different objectives. The agents periodically negotiate a compromise policy for the operation of the system. Agents’ attitudes in each negotiation step are determined by the recent system performance measured by the specific objective they maximize. We then propose a numerical model of preference dynamics that implements a concept from cognitive psychology, the availability bias. We test our modeling framework on a synthetic lake operated for flood control and water supply. Results show that our model successfully captures the operator’s preference selection and dynamic evolution driven by extreme wet and dry situations. More HERE
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Politecnico di Milano and Poliedra will host a workshop about how innovative tools can support behavioral changes towards environmental sustainability. Different researchers from Politecnico and Poliedra will illustrate their research activities on the topic. Our group’s contribution will be about smart metering, user profiling and gamification to control water demand in urban contexts. The full programme is available here. The official language of the workshop will be Italian.
Advanced metering technologies coupled with informatics creates an opportunity to form digital multi-utility service providers. These providers will be able to concurrently collect a customers’ medium-high resolution water, electricity and gas demand data and provide user-friendly platforms to feed this information back to customers and supply/distribution utility organisations. Providers that can install low-cost integrative systems will reap the benefits of derived operational synergies and access to mass markets not bounded by historical city, state or country limits. We just published a paper providing a vision of the required transformative process and features of an integrated multi-utility service provider covering the system architecture, opportunities and benefits, impediments and strategies, and business opportunities. The heart of the paper is focused on demonstrating data modelling processes and informatics opportunities for contemporaneously collected demand data, through illustrative examples and four informative water-energy nexus case studies. Finally, the paper provides an overview of the transformative R&D priorities to realise the vision. Download it HERE.
The advent of smart metering is set to revolutionize many aspects of the relationship between water utilities and their customers, and this includes the possibility of using time-varying water prices as a demand management strategy. These dynamic tariffs could promote water use efficiency by reflecting the variations of water demand, availability, and delivery costs over time. This paper relates the potential benefits of dynamic water tariffs, at the utility and basin scale, to their design across a range of timescales. On one end of the spectrum, subdaily peak pricing shifts use away from peak hours to lower a utility’s operational and capital expenses. On the other end, scarcity pricing factors in the variations of the marginal opportunity cost of water at weekly or longer timescales in the river basin from which water is withdrawn. Dynamic pricing schemes that act across timescales can be devised to yield both types of benefits. The analysis estimates these benefits separately for Greater London (United Kingdom) and its 15 million inhabitants. More HERE