The Water Innovation Hub, a collaboration between the city and Accelerate H20, a non-profit organisation was formally launched in Houston earlier this month with a focus on resiliency.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Carol Haddock, Houston’s acting public works director says, “through the innovation hub, new or improved tech might make us less susceptible to a storm.”
According to Richard Seline, director of the Houston-based Accelerate H20, Houston’s Water Innovation Hub was already in the works before Harvey.
The hub will bring together academics, industry and utilities to demonstrate and prove out new and emerging technologies.
Accelerate H20 will act as a neutral third party to bring in proven technologies from around the world; or provide a testing ground for growth technologies that haven’t yet been demonstrated at full scale or that promise a reduction in costs, chemicals, energy or other differentials by 20% or more.
“We are not being prescriptive,” Seline says. “We are saying these are our problems, bring us everything and anything.”
Haddock hopes that testing new technologies and ideas in the real-world setting of Houston will shave years or perhaps decades off the time needed to bring new concepts to the market.
The city further hopes that the hub will help Houston use new technologies such as smart sensors and gauges to help craft dynamic forecasting models that will better predict floods and rainfall.
Aquam UK welcomes new managing director
In other news, Aquam Corporation, a provider of risk mitigation technologies for water and energy transmission and distribution assets, announced that Tim Bowen, joins the company as managing director for the United Kingdom. Bowen brings decades of infrastructure project experience to Aquam at a key moment, as the company expands geographically with new technology solutions aimed at addressing the vital water and gas assets that lie under the United Kingdom's buildings and streets.
As the smart city concept rapidly becomes reality, decision makers must grapple with the age of key infrastructure – and the tremendous costs, in both money and time, involved with replacing water and gas pipes. Evidence of what can occur when mission-critical infrastructure begins to leak, decay -- or experiences total system failure -- is all around, from the billions of liters in water losses each year to the energy distribution network issues associated with devastating gas-related tragedies.
A report released earlier this month by the Consumer Council for Water determined the water industry in England and Wales alone lost 3.1 billion liters of drinking water through day-to-day leakage from 2016-2017. Fully replacing this infrastructure is prohibitively expensive for cities everywhere.
"Signs of our aging infrastructure are emerging daily, threatening the health and safety of our people and cities, and these are the societal issues that Aquam is addressing," said Bowen.
We are "dedicated to designing and deploying novel technologies that solve some of the most challenging infrastructure problems safely, cost effectively, sustainably, and with minimum disruption to property and people."