eWater CRC — Science for the real world e-newsletter
Feature — 22 July 2011
Modelling for Water Savings
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Urban Developer, a new modelling tool to support Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM), has proven its worth in better understanding water use patterns and sustainable water service planning.

As the Productivity Commission urges efficiency reforms on a highly stressed urban water and wastewater sector, Urban Developer has been put to use to simulate the way human behaviour impacts household water use.

How many showers would the members of a given household or street have in any one week; how long would those showers last; and how much water would they typically consume? How often would those householders flush the toilet in a day, and how much water would their washing machines and other water-using appliances consume? How does the equation change as people in the house or street adopt water-efficient appliances, or if architects, builders and developers installed more rainwater or greywater tanks and moved us away from the mains?

These are the sorts of questions urban planners, managers and designers in the urban water sector grapple with every day.

Traditional models of the urban water system have relied on users to specify water demand. Urban Developer offers a major step forward, with the incorporation of a demand estimation component – the Behavioural End-use Stochastic Simulator (BESS) – developed by Mark Thyer and colleagues at the University of Adelaide.

As well as looking at water use, Urban Developer offers a game-changing capability to rigorously model the whole urban water cycle. For the first time, users can make decisions based on all elements of the urban water cycle (stormwater, wastewater and potable water). They can also consider the impact of a wide range of potential management intervention factors including reuse, alternative supply sources and water efficient appliances. 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 development projects in Queensland and the ACT have benefitted from this new software to support concept designs for water quality and quantity objectives. Read more about these real world applications of Urban Developer.

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