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Atlanta will use artificial intelligence tools to detect water main breaks

  • Atlanta will use artificial intelligence tools to detect water main breaks
  • After century-old pipes burst, Atlanta declared a state of emergency and sought help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Following the recent water crisis, the City will use AI devices to detect and prevent water main breaks in its ageing infrastructure.

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Mayor Andre Dickens announced that the City of Atlanta plans to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to manage its ageing water infrastructure, reports Statescoop. This decision follows two major water main breaks earlier this month.

The two pipes affected measured 36 inches and 48 inches in diameter, and were about a century old: one was installed in 1910, and the other dates back to 1930. The city declared a state of emergency as a result of the water line breaks and the disruption to water services. The breaks and repairs left parts of the city under a boil water advisory, affecting businesses, medical facilities, residents, etc. The city designated points where residents could pick up water and announced a financial relief programme to help small businesses affected by the water crisis.

Mayor Dickens said "We are currently coordinating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We have sought their assistance because they have the most experience in handling a crisis like this," on June 3, when the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management lifted the boil-water advisory in parts of the city. And he added that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would help the city “develop a plan to assess and evaluate our ageing infrastructure.”

The city plans to install AI-enhanced devices on water line valves to detect and prevent breaks, Dickens revealed at a press conference. The new AI devices will be deployed at the locations of the recent breaks; they will provide early warnings and help maintain the water infrastructure more effectively.

Dickens also indicated that the city might seek federal funds to support improvements to its water infrastructure, a project that could cost billions. This federal assistance would be crucial in addressing the extensive needs of the city’s water systems. He also announced the establishment of a “blue ribbon” panel of water infrastructure experts, including former Mayor Shirley Franklin and Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce CEO Katie Kirkpatrick. This panel will guide and advise on the city's efforts to enhance its water systems.

Implementing AI technology in Atlanta's water management represents a significant advancement. By partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and assembling an expert panel, the city aims to develop a robust strategy for maintaining and upgrading its water infrastructure, ultimately ensuring reliable access to clean water for all residents.

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