How can I use customer meter elements with taps and laterals, but distribute demands to them with LoadBuilder using polygon area loading information?
The "Customer Meter Loading Data" section of LoadBuilder enables you to assign existing demands on customer meters to nearby pipes or nodes, or aggregate customers within a junction's service area to that junction. It can also automatically create the lateral link element and connect it to the nearest pipe. However, it asumes that you have already entered or imported the demands on your customer meter elements.
In some cases, you may have each individual customer location included in your model, but may need to distribute demands to them based on a polygon shapefile. For example, using the Proportional Distribution by Area traditional LoadBuilder method, one can assign demands in this fashion to junction, based on the amount of area of the demand polygon that overlaps the junction's associated service area polygon.
Currently this cannot be done directly, but is being considered for a future release (Enhancement # 785028). In the meantime, there are a few options:
1) Import the customer points as junctions and distribute demands using existing LoadBuilder methods such as Proportional Distribution by Area. If the junctions are close to the pipes, you can use the Batch Pipe Split tool to connect the junctions to the pipes.
2) Distribute the demands to the points using an external application such as ArcGIS, then import them into the model as customer meters and assign to pipes (and connect via tap and lateral) using the Customer Meter LoadBuilder methods.
3) Import customer meters using ModelBuilder, automatically create the taps and laterals, then convert them to pipes and junctions and distribute demands using the desired LoadBuilder method:
a. Use ModelBuilder to import the customer meter locations as customer meter elements, with no demands assigned.
b. Use the Customer Meter LoadBuilder methods to assign the customer meters to pipes and automatically create the taps and laterals.
c. Open the customer meter flextable and export to Shapefile using the export button in the top-left corner.
d. Do the same for the taps and laterals
e. Delete all the customers, laterals and taps. Use the Home tab > Select By Element. Once selected, right click > Delete.
f. Create a ModelBuilder connection with the Taps Shapefile and map it to the junction table type.
g. Once imported, run the Batch Pipe Split tool to connect the junctions that were formerly taps, to the overlaying pipe.
h. Create another ModelBuilder connection with both the lateral and customer shapefile selected. Map the customers as junctions and the laterals as the pipe table type. Choose to create a selection set on import. Choose the option to specify connectivity based on spatial data, to ensure that the pipes are connected to the tap nodes (now junctions).
i. Use the desired LoadBuilder method to allocate your actual demand information (which may be in the form of polygon areas) to the junctions that represent customer elements. Use the selection set from step h when choosing the node layer.
With the above method, you will be able to re-distribute demands with the desired LoadBuilder method, as needed. If you ony need to allocate the demands once and would like to take advantage of the benefits of the customer meter elements, consider importing the customers as junctions, allocating the demands as needed, exporting those orphaned junctions to a point shapefile, copy/pasting the demands from the Demand Control Center to a spreadsheet, then import back as customer elements and their associated demands, then create the taps and laterals using the Customer Meter LoadBuilder methods.