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This paper summarizes and combines the recent papers by two of the authors and demonstrates a potential use of a sensor-based real-time monitoring and condition assessment system for urban lifeline infrastructure. Rapid detection of damage caused by natural and manmade hazards enables an efficient and effective emergency response minimizing human and property losses as well as societal disruption. In this paper, using a small scale model of water pipeline network as an example, we demonstrate a monitoring system consisting of a wireless network of power-efficient sensors for a rapid identification of the extent and location of pipe damage immediately after a disastrous event. In this particular example, we take advantage of sharp transient change in the water head due to the damage. The result suggests that a simple inverse analysis can locate the damage in a pipe segment between two neighboring sensors among the pervasively installed along a pipeline at which the absolute values of water head are observed to be local maxima. Separate experiment and analysis show that the sharp transient change in water head in the pipe flow induces a correspondingly sharp change in the acceleration of pipe vibration on the pipe surface. This fact is conventionally used for damage identification in this study.