Water Infrastructure in the Digital Age
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Jeanne M. VanBriesen
Jeanne M. VanBriesen, Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Director, Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems (Water-QUEST) Abstract: Drinking water systems have developed and been deployed without sufficient attention to issues of robustness, security and sustainability. New advances in cyberinfrastructure (sensing, computing, data management) will play a significant role in transitioning existing water infrastructure to a more integrated long-term management system that is critical as we move into a century expected to be marked by the challenges of population growth, increasing urbanization and the expansion of megacities, and global climate change. Two aspects of the current digital revolution make this vision possible. First, improved sensing systems will enable more individualized water treatment, tailoring the systems used to the quality of the source water in semi-real time. Second, improved sensing within the distributed infrastructure coupled to data management enables identification of compromised infrastructure and real-time response to problems. Intentional contamination events will be detected and removed from the system before widespread consumption of tainted water.