Billions (or even trillions) of dollars are potentially being allocated to improve infrastructure in the US thanks to President Joe Biden’s recent endorsement. Dam owners could soon be looking at a world of opportunities from cost saving to security and sustainability. So what does this mean in the long term and how could they spend Biden’s billions?
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement is set to encourage economic recovery for the US year-on-year until 2026, while creating a minimum of 775,000 new jobs. While the new bill has not yet been passed, excitement is growing across the US among construction companies and other infrastructure businesses about the potential billion dollar endorsement.
After the initial agreement was reached in early July, President Biden tweeted: “A group of senators – five Democrats and five Republicans – has come together and forged an infrastructure agreement that will create millions of American jobs.” Although various funding issues had to be addressed between the senators, it was eventually agreed upon that the allocation of a large portion of the budget would go to securing and protecting infrastructure, in order to help secure a profitable and sustainable future for Americans.
The full legislation consists of a $715 billion surface transportation and water infrastructure bill. It also authorises additional spending for building and maintenance of roads, bridges, railways, EV (electric vehicle) charging stations and drinking / wastewater infrastructure. This is in addition to a number of other billion dollar projects, including the plan to connect New Jersey and New York’s Penn Station via transport tunnels underneath the Hudson River. The full bill is currently in review, with final congressional approval due in September of 2021.
What Could This Bill Mean For Dam Owners?
For dam owners in particular, President Biden’s bill represents an exciting opportunity to invest in new technology that would enhance operational efficiency and improve public safety. As many dam owners will already know, managing ageing assets is the day-to-day reality, with almost three quarters of US dams having been built more than 50 years ago. This is both time consuming and costly, with many still carrying out manual inspections and surveillance in remote locations across vast geographical areas spread over a number of years. New technology that utilises Earth Observation data and can be operated remotely could help dam owners target sites in need of repair and prioritize engineer visits. This ultimately reduces the pressure on already stretched resources.
In addition to the cost and time spent managing and maintaining dam infrastructure, there is increasing focus on the surrounding communities. Given the obvious and far-reaching consequences associated with dam faults and the potential release of millions of tonnes of water, failure of these structures is without doubt an extreme risk. Communities are growing faster than ever and encroaching on once-rural dams, flood plains and reservoirs. This means dam owners and regulators must find new, more advanced and remote ways of monitoring changes to urban areas in order to keep people safe.
The Mitigating Power Of Dam Deformation Monitoring Technology
Government investment could facilitate the use of powerful dam deformation monitoring technology, enabling dam owners to manage the integrity of their assets remotely and cost-effectively. Rezatec’s Geospatial AI platform combines satellite imagery with additional data fields and fuses this information using AI algorithms. The resulting insights show changes in terrain motion, vegetation growth and moisture down to the millimetre as well as urban development, such as new housing that might put lives at risk. The technology not only identifies signs of potential failure, but can also improve efficiency. Operating remotely from the comfort of their offices, dam owners get a clear picture of the health of their assets without having to wait months or even years for manual inspections to take place. And with better data, they can see where maintenance is most urgent before deploying engineers to high-priority sites.
The hope is that dam operators will be able to use President Biden’s new infrastructure deal to their advantage, investing in more modern technologies and future-proofing their dams. With the right partner and advanced AI-powered platform, they could access valuable data, maximise the use of available budgets, drive efficiency and prevent catastrophic failures in ever-expanding urban areas.
Book a FREE demo of Rezatec’s geospatial AI technology today and discover how you could capitalise on this billion dollar bill.