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During Smart Cities Week, Water is Recognized As A Major Challenge

Federal, state and local government representatives gathered in Washington, D.C. Sept. 27-29 to celebrate Smart Cities Week and explore how smart technologies can improve the livability, workability and sustainability of cities around the world. More than 30 countries and 130 American cities participated in activities during the week where water was recognized as a major challenge that needs to be addressed.

Water, or lack thereof, is seen by many experts as this century's single biggest urban challenge. Cities across the U.S. have been struggling with drought, and aquifers are draining faster than they are being replenished. Growing populations are putting more and more strain on cities water sources. The water infrastructure of most major cities is old and decaying, putting further strain on the shortage. According to Schneider Electric, water systems typically consume half of a city's energy and waste much of the water they are supposed to deliver.

Data from the American Water Works Association shows, "The U.S. water infrastructure breaks once each minute and about 540,000 times each year. The entire network is comprised of about 1.8 million miles of water distribution lines. Because of the age of the infrastructure, however, it leaks about six billion gallons of fresh water per day."

According to the Smart Cities Council (SCC), "a medium-sized city with 100 million gallons per day of produced water that loses 25 percent (not an unusual amount) is incurring over $13 million per year in non-recoverable labor, chemical and energy expenses."

Smart water technology can be used to detect and repair water leaks quickly, reducing water loss.

Last year, AT&T and other industry partners demonstrated a jointly developed proof-of-concept solution for leak detection as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

"The Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) used the new solution technology to manage the water supply pipeline and limit potential water loss. LVVWD was able to monitor the pipe for small, subsurface leaks, which gave them a better opportunity to fix them before they developed into larger leaks. The solution reduced their risk and allowed them to focus their maintenance efforts to targeted sections of pipe," said Michael Zeto, General Manager, AT&T Smart Cities.

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