Clarendon Weir

Reviewing the current demand forecasting models used by water authorities and agencies in Australia
R Sarker and S Gato-Trinidad
Publication Date (Web): 16 December 2016

Climate change, drought, growth in population, economic and agriculture, along with social and environmental changes, trigger competitive uses of water. As a consequence, patterns of water consumption changes over time and alternative of sources of water are found. The effect of these changes needs to be incorporated into current water demand models.  

This paper presents the results of a survey conducted to determine if the water demand and forecasting models currently used in Australia incorporate the effects of climate change, end-use, conservation program, water restrictions, and alternative sources of water supply. This paper also presents limitations identified in the current demand models. 

The survey targeted 100 managers of the water authorities, agencies and consulting firms in Australia, who were involved in water supply planning, demand modelling and management. A survey tool “Opinio” was used for the design of the questionnaire and the implementation of the survey project. The survey questions relate to the demand models currently being used, issues with these models, and appropriateness of the models, considering the effect of climate change, water restrictions and water conservation practices. 

Sixteen responses were received from the survey. The models used are: End Use Model (EUM - four respondents); Resource Allocation Model (REALM - two); Demand Side Management Decision Support System (DSM DSS - two); In-house model (two); and the remaining six respondents use other types of model.


The survey revealed that, while some current models have incorporated one or two of: end use analysis; climate change; water conservation programs; or water restrictions, no model has incorporated all the above factors together.  From analysis of the survey results  it is recommended  that a water demand model that integrates all of the end use analysis, climate change, water restrictions, water conservation, and alternative sources of water such as rainwater tank be developed. For example: as models such as EUM, iSDP  and DSM DSS simulate water demand, they can be integrated into supply models such as REALM. The climate corrected data input required in DSM DSS can be addressed by integrating  a model like Demand Trend Tracking and Climate Correction Model that incorporates the effect of climate change.

The survey outcome would benefit the water resource planners and policy makers, managers of water authorities, agencies and consultancy firms and researchers involved in water demand modeling and forecasting. 

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