With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation, Virginia Tech researchers are working to create the prototype of a national internet-based geospatial database of underground water pipes. The objective of the water infrastructure research is to improve the decision-making process as it applies to water pipe infrastructure asset management and renewal programs.
Sunil Sinha, associate professor in the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the project leader. "Underground water pipes are the nation's arteries" said Sinha. "Unfortunately, they are not in a very healthy state. About 40 pecent of the water is lost because of leaks and other structural damage."
The Internet prototype application will be created based on underground water and sewage pipe information supplied by three of the 17 cities that are partnering with Sinha and Virginia Tech's Center for Geospatial Information Technology. The geospatial database will include rich, interactive maps of the water pipe infrastructure, as well as data exploration tools and reports. The database of the existing infrastructure information would be very helpful to water utility companies and municipalities.