Stochastic weather inputs for improved urban water demand forecasting: application of nonlinear input variable selection and machine learning methods

Wednesday, 16 December 2015: 11:05
3016 (Moscone West)
John Quilty and Jan F Adamowski, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Urban water supply systems are often stressed during seasonal outdoor water use as water demands related to the climate are variable in nature making it difficult to optimize the operation of the water supply system. Urban water demand forecasts (UWD) failing to include meteorological conditions as inputs to the forecast model may produce poor forecasts as they cannot account for the increase/decrease in demand related to meteorological conditions. Meteorological records stochastically simulated into the future can be used as inputs to data-driven UWD forecasts generally resulting in improved forecast accuracy. This study aims to produce data-driven UWD forecasts for two different Canadian water utilities (Montreal and Victoria) using machine learning methods by first selecting historical UWD and meteorological records derived from a stochastic weather generator using nonlinear input variable selection. The nonlinear input variable selection methods considered in this work are derived from the concept of conditional mutual information, a nonlinear dependency measure based on (multivariate) probability density functions and accounts for relevancy, conditional relevancy, and redundancy from a potential set of input variables. The results of our study indicate that stochastic weather inputs can improve UWD forecast accuracy for the two sites considered in this work. Nonlinear input variable selection is suggested as a means to identify which meteorological conditions should be utilized in the forecast.