Comparative study of fuzzy evidential reasoning and fuzzy rule-based approaches: an illustration for water quality assessment in distribution networks

  • E. Aghaarabi
  • F. Aminravan
  • R. Sadiq
  • M. Hoorfar
  • M. J. Rodriguez
  • H. Najjaran
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper presents the use of two multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) frameworks based on hierarchical fuzzy inference engines for the purpose of assessing drinking water quality in distribution networks. Incommensurable and uncertain water quality parameters (WQPs) at various sampling locations of the water distribution network (WDN) are monitored. Two classes of WQPs including microbial and physicochemical parameters are considered. Partial, incomplete and subjective information on WQPs introduce uncertainty to the water quality assessment process. Likewise, conflicting WQPs result in a partially reliable assessment of the quality associated with drinking water. The proposed methodology is based on two hierarchical inference engines tuned using historical data on WQPs in the WDN and expert knowledge. Each inference engine acts as a decision-making agent specialized in assessing one aspect of quality associated with drinking water. The MCDM frameworks were developed to assess the microbial and physicochemical aspects of water quality assessment. The MCDM frameworks are based on either fuzzy evidential or fuzzy rule-based inference. Both frameworks can interpret and communicate the relative quality associated with drinking water, while the second is superior in capturing the nonlinear relationships between the WQPs and estimated water quality. More comprehensive rules will have to be generated prior to reliable water quality assessment in real-case situations. The examples presented here serve to demonstrate the proposed frameworks. Both frameworks were tested through historical data available for a WDN, and a comparison was made based on their performance in assessing levels of water quality at various sampling locations of the network.

Keywords

Fuzzy evidential reasoning Fuzzy rule-based systems Water distribution network Quality assessment Multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) 

Abbreviations

MCDM

Multi-criteria decision making

WQP

Water quality parameter

WDN

Water distribution network

DS

Dempster–Shafer

FRBS

Fuzzy rule-based system

FDS

Fuzzy Dempster–Shafer

FRC

Free residual chlorine

HPC

Heterotrophic plate counts

DBP

Disinfection by-products

TTHM

Total trihalomethanes

WDS

Water distribution system

BPA

Basic probability assignment

MC

Monte–Carlo

PDF

Probability density functions

AHP

Analytic hierarchy process

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Aghaarabi
    • 1
  • F. Aminravan
    • 1
  • R. Sadiq
    • 1
  • M. Hoorfar
    • 1
  • M. J. Rodriguez
    • 2
  • H. Najjaran
    • 1
  1. 1.Okanagan School of EngineeringThe University of British ColumbiaKelownaCanada
  2. 2.École supérieure d’aménagement du territoireUniversité LavalQuebec CityCanada

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