One of the key challenges of achieving water security is ensuring the community has a strong water conservation ethic.
Seeing and engaging with successful demonstration solutions has proven to be one of the most effective methods of changing and modifying behaviour. It is based upon the understanding that the community cannot develop sustainable water habits without knowledge, involvement and experience in real-life situations.
CERES (the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) in Brunswick aims to foster awareness and action on environmental and social issues affecting urban areas. The site has displays and functional demonstrations on a range of environmental issues to show just what can be achieved at household, community and global levels.
The learning environment at CERES provides practical applications of real solutions, facilitating community engagement, motivation, and behavioural change.
This project, “Smart Water – Not Mains Water – For Urban Communities”, will see the development of practical approaches that will result in significant reductions in mains water reliance. Through established onsite programs and outreach programs, this project will play an important role in fulfilling the needs of stakeholder groups, facilitating a broader uptake of more sustainable water systems.
The key elements of the project are:
- To demonstrate the safe and effective reuse of processed wastewater in garden irrigation
- To demonstrate large scale harvesting of rainwater utilising sub-surface storage
- To demonstrate the distribution of rainwater and processed wastewater with active solar pumping systems
- To demonstrate the effective use of rainwater in hot water supply and toilet flushing
- To demonstrate the use of rainwater for efficient micro-trickle irrigation in community gardens
- To communicate the results of the project to schools, local government and other community groups, and to develop tools for others to learn from and replicate these initiatives.
The “Smart Water – Not Mains Water – for Urban Communities” project will be seen by over 200,000 visitors each year at the CERES community environment park in Brunswick. About 60,000 students – from pre-schoolers to postgraduates – visit CERES each year.
CERES Sustainability Projects Team Leader, Eric Bottomley says “Allowing members of the community to observe and participate in successful demonstrations has proven an effective way of adjusting their behaviour.”
“The grant from the Smart Water Fund will allow us to demonstrate the latest technologies for water conservation and recycling in a variety of settings, including the home, nursery, café and community centre.”
Through established onsite programs, outreach programs, and communication strategies, the project will be of great benefit to the community as a demonstration that can act as a model for relevant practice for schools, community groups and councils to emulate.