News Briefs: China Experiments With GPS to Curb Manhole Cover Thefts

In this week's news, China has a new way of tracking its missing manhole covers, a California city sues the state over water use restrictions, and Denver addresses stormwater concerns.
News Briefs: China Experiments With GPS to Curb Manhole Cover Thefts

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A new manhole cover design, complete with GPS tracking, has been created in response to an estimated 240,000 stolen manhole covers in Beijing over a 10-year period.

The technologically advanced manhole covers will have a test run in the streets of Hangzhou — 100 total — and, if they demonstrate positive results, will be added throughout the city.

“When a cover is moved and the tilt is greater than 15 degrees, the tag will send an alarm signal to us,” says Tao Xiaomin of the Hangzhou Urban Management Office.

The "smart manhole covers" are also designed to have shock absorption and noise reduction features, and are made out of a metal with a lower value to further deter theft, according to an article on

Safety was also considered with the new design, according to officials: People could trip on an upturned manhole, and there have been several who have died after falling down open manholes, including toddlers.

In response to the manhole related accidents, cities across China have installed thousands of nets inside drainage systems but Hangzhou is the first to pour a substantial sum of money into solving the manhole problem.

Source: Daily Mail, The World of Chinese

City Sues State Over Water Use Restrictions

The statewide mandatory drought restrictions do not sit well with one California city, Riverside. Citing its own plentiful groundwater and independent supply, the city has filed suit to bar the state from imposing the restriction of a 28 percent cut in water use.

“We have our own wells and our own water resources,” Heather Raymond, a spokesperson for Riverside Public Utilities, told the LA Times. “No matter how much we save it has zero effect on the state water supply.”

The State Water Resources Control Board has not been served with the suit yet, according to a statement from Chief Counsel Michael Lauffer, and he says that all communities must pitch in to reduce water.

“Groundwater for many areas is the savings account available during times of drought, and the limited 4 percent reduction tier is not available for communities who are relying on that savings account to weather the drought,” says Lauffer.

Riverside is willing to compromise on water restrictions, however, and is considering several proposals, including allowing watering of lawns only three days a week in the summer and twice per week in the winter, Raymond says.

The city “of course wants to be a good community partner and save as much as we can,” she said. “Riverside’s goal is to be recognized as a city that isn’t a burden on the state water supply.”

Source: LA Times

Denver Addresses Stormwater Concerns

Early June storms have wreaked havoc on Denver’s stormwater drainage system, resulting in consistent flooding and stalled and flooded vehicles.

ABC 7News Denver reports that the city is taking measured steps, including widening storm drains, starting downstream and working upstream, in addition to ongoing stormwater drainage improvements throughout the city.

“With these storms, it’s just too much rain in a short amount of time,” said Heather Burke, public works spokeswoman, who told the newspaper that $1.5 billion is needed in stormwater improvements, while the annual budget to address these concerns is $25 to $30 million. “All things age. And we’re doing what we can to improve them as fast as we can.”

Source: The Denver Channel

Brooklyn Sewer System Exhibit Unveiled

Brooklyn Historical Society is celebrating its oldest and most extensive infrastructure projects — its sewer system — in the exhibit, “Brooklyn Sewers: What’s Up Down There?” unveiled earlier this month.

The exhibit, created by 17 teen curators who did all the research and exhibit preparation, will explore the creation of the sewer system and the challenges and issues faced by Brooklyn neighborhoods.

“The topic of sewers is relevant for today’s Brooklynites whose health and sanitation depend on an infrastructure designed with 19th century technology for a 19th century population,” says Deborah Schwartz, president of the historical society.

Source: Brooklyn Eagle


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