Press Release
Smart Water Infrastructure is up to the Challenge

By: Susan Diegelman The First in a Series About Machine-to-Machine Technology and Water Management. The American Society for Civil Engineers gave the U.S. drinking water infrastructure a grade “D” in its 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure—stating there are 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States. Trillions of gallons of water a year are lost through leaks in part due to “leaky pipes, broken water mains and faulty meters.” With aged water pipes that date back to the turn of the century—a few of which are still surprisingly made of wood—America’s crumbling water infrastructure is in dire need of an upgrade. Smart water technology can help utilities address these challenges. Smart solutions take advantage of networked technologies to better manage resources and, in some cases, improve quality of life. Along with Mueller Water Co and IBM, AT&T is participating in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Global Smart Cities Challenge. This smart cities demonstration will showcase wireless networks’ ability to power every day solutions for large utility problems. So how do networks help our water infrastructure? Sensors placed in water distribution and fire protection (think fire hydrants) infrastructure collect data about pressure, temperature and leak detection, then wirelessly transmit that data to a smart dashboard monitored by the utility. Powered by wireless broadband networks, this technology interconnects utilities and empowers them with real time monitoring and two-way communications. By investing in these technologies, utilities can proactively locate and resolve leaks, monitor decreases or increases in water pressure and monitor video feeds, which ensure security for our critical water distribution infrastructure. The technology also benefits consumers by allowing them access to the dashboards and the opportunity to make informed choices about energy consumption based on usage and cost. Our NIST Challenge team will showcase the benefits of smart, network-based water technology and provide a model that can be scaled and repeated around the country and globally. This is the first blog in a series that will document our Global Smart Cities Challenge journey.


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