In a joint venture, communication giants, AT&T, IBM, and Mueller Water Products are developing a new product that electronically monitors water pipes. The three companies are hoping to provide a much more cost-effective solution to managing the more than 240,000 water main breaks each year around the country.
The new product is an acoustic sensor that will capture and record vibrations throughout the pipe, identifying potential leaks, cracks, and breaks in the system. The sensors are designed to be retrofitted onto existing water and sewer mains. Data recorded by Mueller sensors will be uploaded to IBM servers through AT&T’s wireless network. So far, limited trial runs have taken place in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Atlanta.
Although this technology has been in existence for some time, this is a rare, joint attempt from three major technology companies to tackle the national water infrastructure. The ultimate goal of the joint venture is to provide utilities real-time data to help correct water distribution problems more quickly and efficiently.
In the most recent national report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the national water infrastructure received a D ranking. According to an estimate by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, 2.1 trillion gallons of drinking water is lost annually through failing pipes – that is enough put the entire island of Manhattan 300 feet under water. 
“AT&T does a lot of work with cities around communication systems,” said Mobeen Khan, AVP of AT&T’s Industrial Unit said in an interview with RCR Wireless News. “IBM provides a lot of the management software in cities today, and Mueller has been in the water business for decades. These three companies have put something together that is now ready for a new market.”
- Smart water pipes alert to leaks before small problems become big ones
- AT&T and IBM Team Up to Connect Water Pipes to the Internet
 Tilley, Forbes: Tech, “AT&T and IBM Team Up to Connect Water Pipes to the Internet.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/aarontilley/2015/06/01/att-ibm-water-leaks/.
 Hawn, RCR Wireless News: Intelligence on all things Wireless, “Smart water pipes alert to leaks before small problems become big ones.” http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150603/internet-of-things/ibm-use-iot-to-address-water-woes.