The next frontier in sustainability: reducing water loss.
Americans waste nearly six billion gallons of fresh water a day – and that’s before it even reaches their homes.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology estimates that between 14 to 18 percentof our nation’s water supply is lost through leaks, breaks, faulty meters and generally inefficient, aging infrastructure. Drought-stricken California, for example, loses as much as 228 billion gallons a year this way, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, and sometimes in spectacular fashion. In July 2014, 20 million gallons of water gushed through the UCLA campus after a nearly century-old water main burst under Sunset Boulevard. According to news reports, it took city officials nearly four hours to fix the break while buildings and garages flooded and at least five people needed rescue.
Replacing the nation’s water infrastructure is both unlikely and unaffordable, but the world of big data might have a better answer: “smart water.” By using information technology to make water utilities more efficient, cities can stop leaks, save water and better target their investments in infrastructure.