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‘Smart’ devices used to hunt for water leaks

Kai Ryssdal Jan 12, 2015
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Trillions of gallons of water are lost to leakage and bursts from pipeline utilities worldwide each year.

Amanda Little wrote a feature about the conservation efforts of one man, Amir Peleg, for Bloomberg BusinessweekPeleg is an entrepreneur who started TaKaDu, a water network management company that tracks leaks in pipes using data collected by sensors.

Little points out that the U.S. probably won’t be implementing anything like this for a while. “Utilities have very little incentive to implant these smart sensors in their networks and sort of absorb the costs of that,” she says.

TaKaDu primarily works with desert countries, or countries that have been experiencing drought conditions for decades. In those places, their pricing structures penalize water use. This differs from water use in the United States, which Peleg refers to as “all-you-can-eat water.”

Little describes a difference in attitude towards water: “There has been this consciousness in Israel and actually much of the world, that water is a life-or-death issue. It is the wellspring of their economy, and for that matter, their national security. Wars have been fought around water for thousands of years. In the U.S., we’re really only just beginning to develop this sort of consciousness around water.”

“This is a story about technology and a technological shift but it’s really a story about a changing of consciousness,” she says.

Quick facts about water:  

  • 8.6 trillion gallons of water worldwide are lost to leaks each year.
  • For every $1 spent on reducing water leaks, $5 worth of water can be saved.
  • 30-35 percent of water pumped through the pipelines of utilities worldwide is lost to leaks and bursts.

You can read Amanda Little’s piece, Israel’s Water Ninja, in its entirety online.

How We Survive
How We Survive
Climate change is here. Experts say we need to adapt. This series explores the role of technology in helping humanity weather the changes ahead.