Weighted Spectral Clustering for Water Distribution Network Partitioning

Appl Netw Sci. 2017;2(1):19. doi: 10.1007/s41109-017-0033-4. Epub 2017 Jun 30.


In order to improve the management and to better locate water losses, Water Distribution Networks can be physically divided into District Meter Areas (DMAs), inserting hydraulic devices on proper pipes and thus simplifying the control of water budget and pressure regime. Traditionally, the water network division is based on empirical suggestions and on 'trial and error' approaches, checking results step by step through hydraulic simulation, and so making it very difficult to apply such approaches to large networks. Recently, some heuristic procedures, based on graph and network theory, have shown that it is possible to automatically identify optimal solutions in terms of number, shape and dimension of DMAs. In this paper, weighted spectral clustering methods have been used to define the optimal layout of districts in a real water distribution system, taking into account both geometric and hydraulic features, through weighted adjacency matrices. The obtained results confirm the feasibility of the use of spectral clustering to address the arduous problem of water supply network partitioning with an elegant mathematical approach compared to other heuristic procedures proposed in the literature. A comparison between different spectral clustering solutions has been carried out through topological and energy performance indices, in order to identify the optimal water network partitioning procedure.

Keywords: Laplacian spectrum; Spectral clustering; Water network partitioning; k-means.