Mohammad Najafi, associate professor of civil engineering, is using a $410,000 grant from the Water Research Foundation for the project.
“We hope to streamline water asset monitoring so water utilities can make timely decisions and optimize their maintenance activities,” Najafi said. “We will investigate the utilization of existing and innovative asset-monitoring technologies—such as drones, sensors, fiber optics and more—for both horizontal and vertical assets. Considerations for both large and small water utilities will be given.”
The San Diego County Water Authority is among water agencies involved in the project.
“We are happy to collaborate with the University of Texas at Arlington and the water utilities that have come together on this project,” said Martin Coghill, operations and maintenance manager with the San Diego County Water Authority. “It’s an exciting time to be in the water industry with new technologies being developed to help manage water assets more efficiently and effectively. Sharing our experiences and learning from others’ experiences has a huge value for us, our regional partners, and the industry as a whole.”
Other water entities involved in the project include DC Water, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, CDM Smith, Dallas Water Utilities, Greater Cincinnati Water Works, Dallas County, Tarrant Regional Water District, WaterOne, American Water, WSSC Water, Great Lakes Water Authority, Orange County Utilities and Underground Infrastructure.
Vinayak Kaushal, assistant professor of civil engineering, will serve as co-principal investigator. Zahra Borhani, program manager at the Center for Underground Infrastructure Research and Education (CUIRE), and Diego Calderon, a doctoral candidate, are part of the UT Arlington team for this project. Najafi leads CUIRE, a research, education and outreach organization that is part of UT Arlington’s Department of Civil Engineering. Since its inception, it has focused on assembling exceptional and broad-reaching engineering and technical talent to address the needs of underground infrastructure on regional, state, national and international scales.