A new tool for Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) from Australian company eWater CRC has achieved a major breakthrough by allowing users to simulate the way human behaviour impacts household water use.
As the Productivity Commission urges reform on a highly stressed urban water sector, eWater has released Urban Developer, a new tool to support Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM), after a successful beta testing period.
Traditional models of the urban water system require the user to specify demand as an input to the modelling system. 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, a senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide, and colleagues.
The power of the BESS framework lies in its incorporation of algorithms which estimate an individual household’s use of common household water-using appliances. The framework provides probabilistic simulations of water consumption from individual end-uses such as shower, toilet and washing machine at the individual household scale at sub-daily time steps (hour or minute).
A further enhancement under development will model the way weather affects outdoor water use. The prototype model for outdoor water use, incorporating the behavioural impact of weather drivers on outdoor water use variability on the individual household, is currently being refined for inclusion in future releases. [Micevski et al., 2011].
“Urban water use is changing,” Thyer says. “Smart-metering and other detailed water use monitoring projects are continually improving our understanding of urban water use. With this in mind, BESS has been designed with a flexible and generic framework that enables it to be updated in the future. This provides Urban Developer users with the additional future benefit that, as knowledge of urban water use improves, the BESS framework can incorporate this new knowledge to provide improved estimates of urban water use and improved reliability of water savings from integrated urban water management design solutions.
“The benefit of the BESS framework is that it will enable users of Urban Developer to estimate the impact on demand at the household scale of changes in uptake of water efficient appliances and household occupancy,” Thyer says. “It will also allow users to model the impact of using sources like rainwater tanks or grey-water re-use to supply individual household end-uses (outdoor, shower, washing machine, toilet etc.).
Fully suited to international conditions, Urban Developer allows urban water managers to compare options for integrated water management from lot-to-cluster scale.
This 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 offers a game changing capability to be able to model rigorously the whole urban water cycle,” says Tony McAlister, managing director BMT WBM Pty Ltd. “For the first time, users can make decisions based on all elements of the urban water cycle (stormwater, wastewater and potable water) taking consideration of a wide range of potential management intervention factors including reuse, alternative sources of supply, water efficient appliances, etc. It allows users to simulate and evaluate a wide range of potential integrated urban water management strategies which we know are so important to creating the sustainable cities of the future.”
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.
It also lets users see the relationship between inputs, outputs and amounts in store. It readily highlights the potential interactions of water supplies from reservoirs, stormwater, rainwater tanks and wastewater.
Urban Developer joins the well-known music urban stormwater software in the eWater Toolkit.
While music addresses the water quality aspects of urban stormwater management, Urban Developer takes an integrated management approach to stormwater and provides support for the assessment of a broader range of options. music, developed by eWater and its forerunner Cooperative Research Centres, is used by more than 3000 urban stormwater professionals working in private practice and in state, regional and local government agencies around the world.
This latest addition to the Toolkit can handle the required feedback loops and will ultimately evaluate water quantity and quality consideration in a single framework.
eWater offers a range of next generation products, support and training designed to meet the needs of Australian governments, agencies, authorities and the broader water industry for the foreseeable future.
eWater CRC was established in July 2005, the result of a merger between two former Cooperative Research Centres - the CRC for Catchment Hydrology and the CRC for Freshwater Ecology - and a number of other Australian water-focused organisations.
eWater's mission is to be a national and international leader in the development and application of uniquely Australian products for truly integrated water cycle management. We seek to advance the leading edge of water management tools and applications in Australia in support of the National Hydrologic Modelling Strategy.
eWater's rapidly expanding product portfolio is the result of a partnership between the knowledge of leading scientists in the Australian water sector with the practical experience of frontline water managers from Government and Industry.
eWater offers products for:
- Integrated catchment management
- Complete River System management
- Stormwater quality modelling
- Urban water management
- Ecological response management
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