From Crossbow’s blog:
US water facilities and those around the world are faced with mounting operational and maintenance costs as a result of aging pipeline infrastructures. The ability to monitor and control the infrastructure is no longer a pipe dream but is on its way to becoming reality thanks to wireless sensor networks. PipeNet, is a system designed by researchers at Imperial College in London and CSAIL at MIT in conjunction with Intel Research, to collect hydraulic and acoustic/vibration data at high sampling rates as well as use algorithms for analyzing this data to detect and locate leaks. A study by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that water utilities will need $277 billion over the next 20 years (2003-2023) to install, upgrade, and replace infrastructure. Unfortunately, identifying the high priority areas is a non-trivial task because of the scale and age of the pipeline infrastructures. Failures of large diameter bulk-water transmission pipelines are of greatest concern as these are supply critical systems. When these failures do occur, there are dire consequences including loss of life, severe interruptions in service, degraded fire fighting ability, damage to adjacent infrastructure and buildings, and of course the multi-million dollar repair bills.