Sensor placement for disaster prevention for important users in urban water distribution networks is essential for post-earthquake monitoring and repair. Herein, we proposed a sensor placement approach for disaster prevention monitoring for important users, to (a) improve the fault diagnosis ability of the water distribution network and to (b) guarantee the function of emergency services for key nodes after an earthquake. First, an evaluation system of node users’ disaster prevention impact factors was presented to evaluate the node influence degree from three aspects: post-earthquake leakage, emergency support and topology structure; and the weight values of node users’ disaster prevention impact factors were obtained. Second, a post-earthquake hydraulic analysis model based on the pressure-driven demand was used to calculate the water shortage ratio of nodes. Third, using the three-way clustering integration method, the results of four clustering techniques were integrated to divide the monitoring domain in the water distribution network based on sensitivity analysis. Finally, on basis of the sensitivity matrix, the division of the monitoring area and the impact factors of node users’ disaster prevention were combined to place sensors for post-earthquake disaster prevention in the water distribution network. Detailed computational experiments for a real urban water network in China were performed and compared with the results of other traditional techniques to evaluate the performance of the proposed approach. The results show that the approach is better than traditional methods. It not only considers the actual hydraulic information of the water distribution network, but also the important user nodes after an earthquake, and is of great significance for emergency command and rescue and disaster relief after an earthquake in the city.
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