2024 journal article

Social distancing, water demand changes, and quality of drinking water during the COVID-19 pandemic


By: B. Vizanko n, L. Kadinski*, A. Ostfeld* & E. Berglund n

author keywords: Agent-based model; Bayesian belief network; Water distribution systems; Protection motivation theory
Source: Web Of Science
Added: March 18, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic changed daily routines for people around the globe due to the adoption of social distancing measures, such as working from home and restricted travel. Changes in daily routines created new water demand patterns, and the spatial redistribution of water demands in urban water distribution systems affected water quality. A range of factors can influence individual decisions to social distance, including demographics, risk perceptions, and prior experience with infectious disease. This research develops an agent-based modeling framework to simulate decisions to social distance, the effect of social distancing on water demands, and effects on the performance of water infrastructure and the quality of delivered drinking water. This framework couples a hydraulic model, a COVID-19 transmission model, and Bayesian belief network (BBN) driven decision-making models within an agent-based modeling framework. The model is applied for a virtual city, Micropolis, to explore the effects of social distancing decisions on water age. Results demonstrate an increase in average water age and changes to the expected flow directions in pipes under scenarios of increasing social distancing. Nodes near industrial areas experience higher degradation of water quality. This research provides a new framework to develop and evaluate water infrastructure management strategies during pandemics.