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Quantifying the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on household water consumption patterns in England
npj Clean Water  (IF9.378),  Pub Date : 2021-02-18, DOI: 10.1038/s41545-021-00103-8
Halidu Abu-Bakar, Leon Williams, Stephen H. Hallett

The COVID-19 lockdown has instigated significant changes in household behaviours across a variety of categories including water consumption, which in the south and east regions of England is at an all-time high. We analysed water consumption data from 11,528 households over 20 weeks from January 2020, revealing clusters of households with distinctive temporal patterns. We present a data-driven household water consumer segmentation characterising households’ unique consumption patterns and we demonstrate how the understanding of the impact of these patterns of behaviour on network demand during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown can improve the accuracy of demand forecasting. Our results highlight those groupings with the highest and lowest impact on water demand across the network, revealing a significant quantifiable change in water consumption patterns during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The implications of the study to urban water demand forecasting strategies are discussed, along with proposed future research directions.