Urban Developer Beta now available

Friday 25 February 2011

eWater CRC has released the Urban Developer Beta, a new tool to support Integrated Urban Water Management.

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Initially targeted at lot-to-cluster scale applications, it will ultimately allow urban water managers to compare options for integrated water management ranging in scale from the allotment to the suburb. It is now available in a free beta version.

The next generation software tool incorporates all three urban water cycle services – potable, waste and stormwater – within a single framework. It can simulate demand and supply interactions at sub-daily time scales, and can deal with catchment rainfall-runoff responses at a range of scales.

Urban Developer will let users examine, design and assess how a system based on water-sensitive design principles will operate. The modelling framework is equally applicable to brown and greenfield sites, and can also be used to explore issues such as urban renewal by enabling exploration of innovative service delivery strategies.

Case studies

Urban Developer can model and assess systems based on multiple and alternative delivery strategies, for successful Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM). During an extensive period of product testing by eWater partners it has already made its mark in projects around the nation.

Caloundra Downs and flood risk management

At Caloundra Downs, a major Greenfield project on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, the local authority stipulated the development had to maximise reuse and on site disposal of wastewater. The project was also required to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in potable water consumption from (pre millennium drought) levels.

Capture and reuse of roofwater via rainwater tanks was mandated to reduce stormwater loads on WSUD infrastructure in light of receiving water quality constraints. 

To support and guide integrated water cycle (IWCM) investigations for the site, consultancy BMT WBM used Urban Developer in conjunction with Source Catchments (a water quality and quantity model designed to assist with catchment management) and eWater’s widely-used stormwater-system design model, music.

Urban Developer was used to quantify lot scale water cycle processes and to assess the impacts of rainwater capture and reuse, demand management and water recycling initiatives in achieving the potable water reduction/wastewater discharge requirements. The model was forced with 10 years of local climatic and meteorological data.

“Urban Developer was extremely useful in enabling a robust and defensible understanding to be developed of IWCM processes on the site,” says BMT WBM Managing Director and eWater Board member Tony McAlister. “Its flexibility and ease of use enabled the rapid assessment of multiple potential IWCM cases and the development of a solution for the site which satisfied all relevant requirements.”

Urban Water Optimisation in the Woden Valley, ACT

The ACT Government is weighing its options as it seeks to ensure water system reliability. These include provision of rainwater tanks and water saving appliances, and development of several stormwater ponds for irrigation purposes. Before selecting the best options it needs to fully assess their impact.

To model the potential impact of water tank use the ACT Government used Urban Developer, a tool from eWater CRC, to analyse a single street in the Woden Valley Catchment. The results from this study will assist in determining the optimal operating strategy for the Canberra water system at the cluster scale.

Using data from the current rainwater tank rebate scheme, the researchers determined and applied a distribution of tank sizes to Collier Street, with all houses installing an internally plumbed rainwater tank. Based on this distribution, the mains water saving from installing rainwater tanks over a street of 39 houses is 2890kL over the year of the simulation. This shows installation of rainwater tanks can lead to considerable water savings.

Often rainwater tank yield analysis is based on average roof sizes, tank sizes and population. To compare the values found from the distributed study with those from average studies, a single average house was modelled and the saving multiplied by the number of houses in Collier Street. Depending on the size of the rainwater tank chosen, the single house either overestimated, or underestimated the water savings, compared with the distributed study. Using the mean rainwater tank volume, the water savings in the system were over-estimated by 115kL over the year of the simulation.

Saving Water at JCC

In late 2009 the Queensland Government’s new  Joint Contact Centre (JCC) at Zillmere was awarded a 6 Star Green Star - Office Design v2, putting it amongst the greenest building designs in the world. At the time of certification (25 September 2009), JCC had achieved the highest number of points (92/100) to date for any Office Design v2 project in Australia.

The JCC also enjoys a sophisticated water reuse system involving water harvesting and re-use to minimise town mains water consumption. Innovative water use includes collection and treatment of five sources of water which are used to flush toilets, (greywater from showers and hand basins, fire test water, condensate from dehumidifiers and stormwater from carpark areas). Harvested rainwater from the JCC roof meanwhile supplies sophisticated cooling towers which have their own water treatment system designed to reduce water usage. The sole source of water for the water efficient irrigation system is harvested stormwater from the car park area, which is first treated using WSUD techniques.

To sustain those achievements the project developers are using Urban Developer, a new tool to support Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) from eWater CRC, to monitor the working project. Urban Developer will assist with decisions around the most efficient usage of the various stormwater and grey water harvests streams. It will also offer a case study for calibration of the design model, using monitoring data that will become available over the life of the project.

For more  information visit the Urban Developer page or email [email protected]