In the UK, civil infrastructure, including water supply and sewer systems as well as tunnels and bridges, is rapidly ageing. For example, Thames Water has 31,000 km of pipelines. Half of these are more than 100 years old, a third more than 150 years old, resulting in leakage of approximately 30%. Tunnels in the London Underground are 75 to 100 years old. They have deteriorating linings and minimal clearance for settlement to occur. tunnel Additional risks are created by third party construction. Four of the UK's busiest road tunnels are among the ten most risky in Europe. There are around 150,000 bridges in the UK and they form critical links in the road and rail infrastructure. They are deteriorating and many structures are deemed to be below their required strength.

Wireless sensor networks offer a cost effective method for monitoring this infrastructure. They are relatively low cost and fast to deploy, especially in difficult-to-access areas. Wireless networks are scalable, allowing for dynamic system growth and extension. Adaptive network configuration and operation in case of node failure and unexpected events result in improved reliability over wired systems. Coupled with low power sensors and local processing, wireless sensor networks offer long term monitoring advantages.