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Urban Water Systems R&D group (UWS-RD) is an interdisciplinary research group developing time reversal and imaging techniques to establish the next generation of urban water systems which are better designed, operated and managed.

We are located at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.  


​​We are dedicated to developing efficient, robust and high-resolution diagnostic techniques for urban water systems based on the physics of time reversal of waves.

Our Mission


Our Vision

To design the next generation urban water systems, which are smarter, well designed, instrumented, operated, and managed, and where potential system failures can be readily and reliably diagnosed. 


Our Research Objectives

  • To establish the scientific and engineering fundamentals of time reversal of waves in pipeline systems

  • To explore pipeline material properties that enhance the resolution obtained using time reversal imaging techniques

  • To develop advanced experimental methodologies to enable the implementation of time reversal techniques in real urban water systems

  • To envision the design of the next generation of urban water systems

Importance and Impact

Urban Water Systems (UWS) are essential urban infrastructures and are vital to sustain the life and the prosperity of our cities. Unfortunately, these systems are aging and prone to defects and malfunctions. For instance, leaking pipes are responsible for a substantial loss of potable water, and a potential contamination source in sewage force mains.

In this context, the development of cost-effective and non-intrusive techniques, that enable swift inspection and diagnosis of the systems, would greatly benefit the society. The benefits are not limited to mere water and energy savings, but it also guarantees the delivery of clean and safe to drink water to the masses.

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