Providers of potable water to households and businesses are charged with conserving water. Addressing this challenge requires accurate information about how water is actually being used. So smart meters are being deployed on a large scale by water providers to collect medium resolution water use data. This paper presents water use signature patterns, the first technique designed for medium resolution meters for discovering patterns that explain how households use water. Signature patterns are clusters (subsets) of water meter readings specified by patterns on volumes and calendar dates. Four types of signature pattern are introduced in this paper: continuous flow days; exceptional peak use days; programmed patterns with recurrent hours; and normal use partitioned by season and period of the day. Signature patterns for each household are calculated using efficient selection rules that scale for city populations and years of data collection. Data from a real-world, large-scale, smart metering trial are analyzed using water use signature patterns. The results demonstrate that water use behaviors are distinctive, for both individuals and populations. Signatures can identify behaviors that are promising targets for water conservation. Pattern discovery can be automated with an efficient and scalable computer program. By identifying relevant consumption patterns in medium resolution meter data, water use signature patterns can help to achieve the water conservation potential of large-scale smart metering.
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