case studies


A smart model for residential water management


Combining water management initiatives and working with house builders will reduce potable water use for each home in the development by up to 70%.

The drivers

An opportunity to "walk the talk"

  • South East Water used their own land to create a new model for development:
    Availability of a former wastewater treatment plant site provided an opportunity to work with joint developer, Villawood, to deliver a new type of development.
  • A perfect opportunity to demonstrate new technologies:
    A range of water management products and technologies will be demonstrated on site, where the cost and risk is managed by South East Water.
  • Policy into practice:
    Supportive Victorian Government policy created an environment to support delivery of integrated water management at a precinct scale.

Stakeholder collaboration

The innovations

Smarter homes benefiting from multiple water sources

  • Rainwater to hot water:
    Each home will include a rainwater tank that will feed a hot water system to supply bathing water, the laundry trough and the washing machine. This is a first for urban development in Victoria that could unlock approximately 35% of a household's water demand for supply using an alternative source.
  • On-site recycled water plant: Wastewater from the development will be collected in a pressure sewer system and transferred to an on-site treatment plant. Class A recycled water will then be supplied to homes for irrigation, cold water washing machine supply and toilet flushing.
  • Talk Tank® and OneBox® smart systems:
    A OneBox® control system will monitor the water systems in the home, providing real-time information on water use, monitoring of the rainwater to hot water and pressure sewer systems, and the Talk Tank® system, which can release rainwater from the tank in advance of a rain storm.

Rainwater to hot water

The method

Emerging research put into practice

Researchers from the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities collaborated with Aquarevo stakeholders early in the design process, compiling ideas into the Ideas for Aquarevo document.
Ideas for Aquarevo

The lessons

Innovation accompanied by collaboration can deliver major changes

  • A combination of rainwater and recycled water supply can achieve big reductions in potable water demand: Up to a 70% reduction in potable water can be achieved through a combination of water management products and technologies, setting a new benchmark for water use in new developments.
  • A new model for development can be delivered through collaboration: By working with joint developer, Villawood, and engaging extensively with house builders from the beginning, South East Water was able to shape a new approach to estate water and wastewater management.
  • Hassle-free sustainability initiatives are a bonus for purchasers: While not as important as location, sustainability was viewed as a bonus by purchasers, who were willing to take time to understand and sign up to the proposals at the point of sale.
  • Water in the landscape adds value: The design of water landscapes through the development enabled more premium waterfront land packages to be included in the masterplan.
  • Allow time for innovation and collaboration: Additional time was required in the programme to accommodate risk assessments, consultation, and design modifications. However, these were necessary to instil confidence in the stakeholders, provide good information to purchasers and to protect the reputation of the development.

The Aquarevo House

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Lyndhurst, Victoria, Australia


2011 – Present

"The real test will be when people move into their homes, but that is still to come. I think once people experience it first-hand it will
be desirable and it will probably become the norm in the next 5-10 years.”
Victoria Cook, Villawood Properties , Outlines Landscape Architecture


Full Case study


The outcomes

Cities providing ecosystem services

  • A meandering waterway has been masterplanned into the site to link to the existing Marriot Waters wetlands. This water landscape provides amenity, habitat and stormwater management.
  • The landscape is being designed to incorporate water sensitive urban design and greening measures to enhance amenity and microclimate.
  • The urban forest proposed in Ideas for Aquarevo could reduce peak summer temperatures by 1.0-1.5 degrees compared with a conventional estate design template.
  • The provision of green landscapes and water features increases the economic value of the estate.

Cities as water supply catchments

  • Up to 70% reduction in potable water use is expected to be achieved in homes in the development compared with the average household.
  • 1 million litres of rainwater storage capacity will be created in household rainwater tanks.
  • 25% reduction in peak stormwater runoff flows is expected to reduce to the risk of local flooding.
  • An on-site Water Recycling Plant, the first of its kind in Australia, means that Aquarevo’s water cycle will be a closed loop, recycling and reusing water locally.

Cities comprising water sensitive communities

  • The future residents of Aquarevo have been provided with extensive information on proposed sustainability measures.
  • Home builders have been pre-approved for the site, and trained on the water management initiatives proposed, including rainwater for hot water, non-potable supply plumbing and smart metering.
  • The OneBox® within each home will provide residents with real time information on their water and energy use, while also allowing South East Water to monitor performance of the water systems.

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