American Society of Civil Engineers

Acoustic Fiber Optic Monitoring: How It Is Changing the Remaining Service Life of the Water Authority’s Pipelines

by John J. Galleher, Jr., P.E., (San Diego County Water Authority, 610 West 5th Ave., Escondido, CA 92025 E-mail:, Mark Holley, (Pure Technologies, 10015 Old Columbia Rd., Suite B-215, Columbia, MD, 20145 E-mail:, and Myron Shenkiryk, (Pure Technologies, 10015 Old Columbia Rd., Suite B-215, Columbia, MD, 20145 E-mail:
Section: Infrastructure Assessment/Monitoring I, pp. 21-29, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Pipelines 2009: Infrastructure’s Hidden Assets
Abstract: The San Diego County Water Authority (Water Authority) has over 400 kilometers (km) of large diameter pipelines that provide up to 95 percent of the water to San Diego County’s 3 million people. In this 400 km is 133 km of prestressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) manufactured between 1958 and 1982 ranging in diameters of 168 cm to 244 cm. In order to provide a safe and reliable supply of water to San Diego County, the Water Authority implemented the Aqueduct Protection Program (APP) in 1992 which includes the condition assessment of the Water Authority’s PCCP. Part of the program consists of developing and researching new non-invasive/non-destructive inspection procedures to determine the condition of existing PCCP. Between March 2006 and February 2009, the Water Authority has installed 79 km of acoustic fiber optic (AFO) cable to monitor wire break activity and to provide critical information on the remaining service life of the pipeline. This paper will focus on how the Water Authority is incorporating real time monitoring into their APP, the accuracy of the wire break results based on excavations, and how this technology is changing the remaining service life of the pipeline.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Acoustic techniques
Fiber optics
Water pipelines
Service life