Special Issue "Sustainability in Water Supply and Smart Water Systems"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 14 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Carlo Giudicianni
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Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, via Roma 29, 81031 Aversa, Italy
Interests: water systems analysis and management; water system monitoring; hydroinformatics; resilience assessment; complexity science; smart water systems
Prof. Dr. Armando Di Nardo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, via Roma 29, 81031 Aversa, Italy
Interests: water network management; water network partitioning; water leakage; complex network theory; critical infrastructure; optimization; smart water network; resilience
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Dr. Manuel Herrera
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Manufacturing – Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, 17 Charles Babbage Road, Cambridge CB3 0FS, UK
Interests: network science; graph signal processing; distributed AI; decentralized systems; predictive analytics; critical infrastructure; asset management; digital water
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Prof. Dr. Chrysi S. Laspidou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Thessaly, Pedion Areos, 38334 Volos, Greece
Interests: resource Nexus and water informatics; mathematical modeling and simulation of physical-chemical and biological processes that take place in natural aquatic systems and other ecosystems; urban water issues; resource depletion and sustainability; virtual water and water-carbon-ecological footprint
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Prof. Dr. Helena M. Ramos
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georesources Department, CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: hydropower; hydraulic transients; pumped-storage; water and energy nexus; hydrodynamic and hemodynamic
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water systems represent a critical, complex, dynamic human–environment coupled system whose management transcends individual scientific disciplines. The ever-increasing water demand due to a growing global population should also face increased resource constraints and the request for an ever more efficient service. This scenario, combined with the ongoing consequences of climate change, makes us stand in front of a paradigm shift based on a mandatory holistic infrastructure management to make a more responsible water use and maximise resilience.

The adaptation today of water management to new technologies has become a key policy. This is by setting out the management framework for sustainable solutions on water resource utilisation. Sustainable water systems comprise combinations of traditional and new components and novel asset management strategies to provide adequate water quantity with appropriate quality for a given need (domestic, agricultural, industrial) without compromising the future ability to assure the desired performance standards. Sustainable water supply represents a crucial aspect of integrated water resource management, according to which multiple stakeholders’ viewpoints are brought and considered together to define how water should be better managed. Consequently, key performance indicators related to technological, economic, social and environmental issues should be taken into account in addition to the more purely technical and hydraulic aspects. This leads to a view of water management defined by a sequence of combined actions and not isolated strategies (from the individual’s willingness to governmental regulations). In this regard, if and only if efficiency in both the supply side (e.g., enhancing operation and maintenance capabilities, reducing non-revenue water, leakages, energy use, fair tariff system and investment planning) and the demand side (e.g., investments in technologies to reduce water consumption, less water intensive industrial processes and more efficient buildings) is guaranteed can a water supply system be considered sustainable.

Urban water systems also need quick integration and sharing of assets and infrastructure across multiple utilities. Therefore, beyond the water–energy nexus, this endeavour definitely also includes the interaction of waste, transport and telecommunications for a global analysis of system efficiency and sustainability. To reach this goal, it is necessary to integrate the analysis, modelling, monitoring, operation and management of water systems using an innovative, sustainable and smart perspective. Indeed, the emergence of digital information and communication technologies (ICT), such as the Internet of Things (IoT), combined with easy access to powerful computing resources and availability of low-cost monitoring technologies, as a consequence, has triggered a paradigm shift towards the concept of smart water systems—that is, intelligent, self-aware systems, enhanced with model- and data-driven management approaches for optimal operation and management of urban water infrastructure. In this context, cyber-physical systems (CPS) represent the driving force for automating and smartening such water systems; combining computing, communication and control, aiming towards:

  • An informative, global consciousness for water consumption and its impact in natural systems;
  • Innovative pathways in treatment, contamination detection and reusability;
  • A response to the climate change pressure in water natural sources and infrastructures.

This Special Issue calls for papers to disseminate and share findings on the sustainable and smart solutions for water systems above described. Critical reviews are also invited. The objective of this Special Issue is to gather contributions on advancing scientific and technical methodologies, technologies, best practices and regulations, exploring alternative solutions for making water systems sustainable and smart. Only if system dynamics are better understood will it be possible to provide more insights for a more sustainable and smart water system design and management.

Dr. Carlo Giudicianni
Prof. Dr. Armando Di Nardo
Dr. Manuel Herrera
Prof. Dr. Chrysi S. Laspidou
Prof. Dr. Helena M. Ramos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • green cities and green infrastructures
  • closed-loop water systems
  • rainwater harvesting
  • recoverable energy
  • reclaimed water
  • adaptive control of urban water network
  • water safety plan
  • water–energy–food nexus
  • pricing and tariff policing
  • advanced metering infrastructure
  • cyber-security
  • machine learning and big data analysis
  • data-driven approach
  • decision support systems
  • intermittent water supply
  • sustainable design and management
  • securing actions from contamination
  • water demand management
  • green economy
  • circular economy
  • sustainable consumption
  • environmental impact assessment
  • energy recovery
  • smart water grids
  • hybrid energy solutions
  • water systems efficiency

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Exploring the Effectiveness of Clustering Algorithms for Capturing Water Consumption Behavior at Household Level
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2603; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13052603 - 01 Mar 2021
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As water scarcity becomes more prevalent, the analysis of urban water consumption patterns at the consumer level and the estimation of the corresponding water demand for water utility are expected to be among the top priorities of water companies in the near future. [...] Read more.
As water scarcity becomes more prevalent, the analysis of urban water consumption patterns at the consumer level and the estimation of the corresponding water demand for water utility are expected to be among the top priorities of water companies in the near future. This study proposes a comprehensive methodology for water managers to achieve an efficient operation of urban water networks, by successfully detecting residential water consumption patterns corresponding to different household needs and behaviors. The methodology uses Self Organizing Maps as the main clustering algorithm in combination with K-means and Hierarchical Agglomerative Clustering. The objective is to create clusters in a literature dataset that includes water consumption from 21 customers located in Milford, Ohio, USA, for a 7-month period. Originally, water consumption data was recorded for every water use incident in the household, while for this analysis, the information is converted to half-hourly water consumption. Individual customers with similar consumption behavior are clustered and water-consumption curves are calculated for each cluster; these curves can be used by the water utility to obtain estimates of the spatio-temporal distribution of demand, thus giving insight into peak demands at different locations. Statistical indices of agreement are used to confirm a good agreement between the estimated and observed water use, when clustering is employed. The resulting curves show a clear improvement in capturing water consumption behavior at household level, when compared to corresponding curves obtained without clustering. This analysis offers water utilities an innovative solution that relies on real time data and uses data science principles for optimizing water supply and network operation and provides tools for the efficient use of water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Water Supply and Smart Water Systems)
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