Currently, more research to implement and monitor cleaner production practices for distribution and sustainable management of natural and alternative water sources to comply with the demands of the different users while preserving water levels are needed. In this paper, a periodic hourly-based model with meaningful parameters has been developed to analyze and forecast water demand as a function of time, thus enabling a better understanding of the consumption pattern and the condition of the pipe network. The model was tested by investigating the daily water consumption from selected categories of users which were isolated from different distribution networks in Sligo, Ireland. The flow data used was obtained in 15-min intervals and averaged in different time periods for analysis. In all cases, the model fittings obtained were highly consistent and all the parameters showed satisfactory confidence intervals (alpha = 0.05), thus demonstrating the reliability of this approach. The model provides a quick analysis revealing the regularities of water demand that could benefit water utility managers and researchers; to obtain optimal regulation and pumping schemes; for planning and design purposes; to control unexpected scenarios that can take place during the distribution of water; the performance of water distribution systems; and to locate possible network failures. In addition, the model parameters can be used as standard criteria for water utilities to compare precisely the water demand between different areas, identify complex trends and analyze the pipe network for managing, auditing and monitoring purposes. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.