The creation of green suburban developments in a continent as dry as Australia is a challenge, but one that South East Water is eager to tackle.
Its unique partnership with Villawood properties, Aquarevo is a water- and energy-efficient community in Melbourne’s south east that aims to reduce demand on drinking water supplies.
How will that goal be achieved?
The three sources
Each home in the community is supplied with three water sources:
- drinking water
- rain water
- recycled water
Drinking water is reserved for kitchen use. After all, why flush drinking water down the toilet when rain and recycled water are available?
Rain water will be captured in household storage tanks, then treated before it’s heated and used for showering.
TankTalk® is a tool that lets water utilities manage and control rainwater tank levels automatically. It’s also able to track weather forecasts and automatically release water in a controlled way before a new rainfall event. At Aquarevo, that will help to mitigate the flood risk associated with hard-surface runoffs during rain events, and help supply water to the parks and wetlands that are a central attraction at the development.
The rainwater tanks alone will create close to 1 million litres of on-site water storage capacity. And, with help from TankTalk®, they’re estimated to reduce storm water runoff by 25 per cent across the estate.
Meanwhile, recycled water reclaimed from the community’s own pressure sewer system and recycling plant will be returned to homes for use in toilets, washing machines, and home gardens.
OneBox®, the technology that gives the water authority visibility over the pressure sewer function at each home, has been adapted to give residents near-real time access to their own water and energy use data through an easy-to-use online portal.
Aquarevo homes also include solar panels, and their energy production tracking has been incorporated into OneBox® reports alongside water usage data.
It’s this level of visibility that will empower families to control their own resource usage every week of the year.
of water storage capacity created in on-site rainwater tanks
in stormwater runoff
drinking water used
The development has a huge potential to impact water usage.
With these two technologies in place, Aquarevo’s 450 households are expected to use around 70 per cent less water than households without access to rain and recycled water.
TankTalk® and OneBox®, along with the on-site water recycling plant, help residents move toward a closed loop on water usage in this development.
It’s a huge step forward in terms of intelligent, sustainable water use for Australian communities.